Vocab Lessons

I’ve been using words like Grief, God, Trauma, and Soul a lot in my writing, so I thought looking up the actual definitions of these words might provide some clarity or even inspiration to my own understanding of what these words mean.

Merriam Webster returns some fun tidbits, such as origin, first known usage, and popularity of the word, along with the definition.  I was not surprised to see Hope and Faith in the top 1% of search terms, but I was surprised that Trauma made the top 10% of words in terms of popularity.  Soul was only in the top 30%.  More below, for whatever it may be worth!


deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement

Origin and Etymology: Middle English gref, from Anglo-French gref, grief injustice, calamity, from gref, adjective heavy, grievous, from Vulgar Latin *grevis, alteration of Latin gravis
Popularity: Top 40% of words
First Known Use: 15th century


an injury (such as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent

a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury

an emotional upset

Origin and Etymology Greek traumat-, trauma wound, alteration of trōma; akin to Greek titrōskein to wound, tetrainein to pierce
Popularity: Top 10% of words
First Known Use: circa 1693


to make free from injury or disease : to make sound or whole : to make well again : to restore to health

to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome

to restore to original purity or integrity

Origin and Etymology: Middle English helen, from Old English hǣlan; akin to Old High German heilento heal, Old English hāl whole
Popularity: Top 40% of words
First Known Use: before 12th century


the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe

the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind

a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality

Origin and Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German got god
Popularity: Top 10% of words
First Known Use: before 12th century


an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms

the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person

Origin and Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, espirit, spirit, from Latin spiritus, literally, breath, from spirare to blow, breathe
Popularity: Top 20% of words
First Known Use: 13th century


the whole body of things and phenomena observed or postulated

a systematic whole held to arise by and persist through the direct intervention of divine power

Origin and Etymology: Middle English, from Latin universum, from neuter of universus entire, whole, from uni- + versus turned toward, from past participle of vertere to turn
Popularity: Top 40% of words
First Known Use: 1589


having infinite duration

continued without intermission

seemingly endless

valid or existing at all times

Origin and Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin aeternalis, from Latin aeternus eternal, from aevum age, eternity
Popularity: Top 40% of words
First Known Use: 14th century


the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life

the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe

a person’s total self

an active or essential part

the moral and emotional nature of human beings

Origin and Etymology: Middle English soule, from Old English sāwol; akin to Old High German sēulasoul

Popularity: Top 30% of words
First Known Use: before 12th century


to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true

to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment

to expect with confidence

Origin and Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hopian; akin to Middle High German hoffen to hope
Popularity: Top 1% of lookups
First Known Use: before 12th century


allegiance to duty or a person

belief and trust in and loyalty to God

belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

firm belief in something for which there is no proof

complete trust

something that is believed especially with strong conviction

Origin and Etymology: Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust 
Top 1% of lookups
First Known Use: 13th century


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