Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Now, Thislin, the above, by TT, should make sure you are among the enlightened ones, right?

I hope this brings you clarity to you mind! Or should I say pneuma? smile
I begin to think that this board is mainly inhabited by frustrated lawyers. Here we see someone playing games with the phrase "a group of people," taking my use of it out of context. It is true that people "decide" the meaning of words, but not by a "decision" process. The meanings of words are set by usage, largely a matter of chance.

The "gay" example is pertinent. Had it been put to a vote, the change in the meaning of the word would have been overwhelmingly defeated. However, languages that have a need (a non-technical, judgmentally neutral word for homosexual was needed) usually find a way to fill the need. It is not a conscious decision process--it just sort-of "happens."

If I recall correctly, the English "gay" was taken from French "gai," and not directly from the older English "gay,[happy]" which was thereby pushed aside. Multiple but related meanings of words often get that way from repeated borrowing from a nearby language (U gave long wondered why we call this stealing of words from another language "borrowing").

As far as dictionaries go, they are far too often treated as Holy Writ, while anyone reading the preface to a modern dictionary can see that this authoritative prescription of usage is not their function. They are good for avoiding serious malapropism, and of course for checking spelling, but meaning is up to the individual--some of the best writing routinely goes about stretching the dictionary meaning so as to express the heretofore unexpressed.

Trying to redefine the word "God" is an interesting exercise in windmill jousting, anyway. Whatever God is is what He is, if anything.