Definition Essay - The Many Meanings of Community
Community is a common tool of the English language to categorize people and put unique individuals into a single group. However, what is the real meaning of community? Community can be used as a noun or an adjective and it has a plethora of meanings in the dictionary.
The Oxford English Dictionary defined the word community in two pages worth of different meanings. The earlier definitions (from the 17th century) defined community as “the quality of appertaining to or being held by all in common; joint or common ownership, tenure, liability” and a “common character, quality in common, commonness, agreement, identity.” Then in the later definitions (used in later times like in the 18th and 19th centuries) community was defined as “life in association with others; society, the social state.” (The Oxford English Dictionary) It is interesting to see that community goes from meaning a common interest or defining characteristics to living in the same society with other people that could have no common interests or defining characteristics. It seems that the word was used in much broader terms as time passed, and lost some of its original meaning.
In looking through the dictionary there are always the common definitions that would be expected, but there are also the definitions from left field that are so odd and unforeseen. Some of the unforeseen definitions found in the dictionary were “a religious society, a monastic body” and “a common prostitute” (Chamber's Twentieth Century Dictionary). It is hard to find an example in modern English that uses the word community as meaning a common prostitute on the street. Another odd definition was “a...