Friday, March 28, 2014

Five Minute Friday :: Mighty

I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday.  Her rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
The word today is mighty. GO.

Word association activities come to mind today. Mighty Mouse. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. A Mighty Fortress is our God. God is Almighty.

Then I look at the word, "mighty" and think I just wrote that so many times that it looks wrong, but there's no squiggly red line underneath, so it must be fine. Might looks like it's part of mighty. It is. In one definition. Might, power, strength. With all her might, she held back tears as the boys in her classroom teased her. But then I might or might not. Now my love of words and their meanings comes to the surface. How is the word mighty related to the word might? How is a word that means strength and power connected to a word that means pretty much the opposite? 


Egads. My five minutes is up. I'm going to have to go look in my dictionary, because now I'm curious.

Ok. According to my Concise Oxford Dictionary of Engish Etymology (which I got in High School, and is falling apart), Might means, "quality of being able, power, strength....hence Mighty." It then refers us back to "may" as in "Mother may I? Yes you may." or "Might I have a bit of earth?"

Flipping to "may" reveals that, although the use is obsolete, the conjugation of "may" is indeed related to "mighty."  "may (past tense) might - be strong; be able; be allowed....The primary sense was 'have power'...hence maybe". 

When we say I might, then, we use the word that does indeed mean power. When you look at the history of the word, you essentially are saying that you have the power or ability to do something. "I might write a blog post" should be more certain that we intend that statement to be. Modern English has transformed a word that implies power into a word that implies weakness!

Fascinating.  What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you reading, and I appreciate loving comments. Oh! And if you have a chance, will you swing by this week's Shabbat devotional?

Five Minute Friday


  1. When I saw the prompt "Mighty," the first thing I thought of was "Mouse" too. Curse those 70's cartoons I grew up watching! And I appreciated the short etymology lesson—a word I always mix up with entomology, but that's a subjest for another etymological investigation. God bless from a fellow FMF contributor.

    1. I have loved etymology for a very long time, and I learned the difference between etymology and entomology. But I generally prefer not to study bugs! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I am glad you completed your thought past five minutes! I had to know and honestly if you had not, I would have been searching high and low. Dropping by today from Five Minute Friday. First time too. Love the variety of thoughts here. :)