• amen •
ah-men, ay-men • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Interjection, Noun
Meaning: 1. (Interjection) Used at the end of a hymn or prayer, to express assent firmly. 2. (Noun) The act of saying "amen", used mostly in the phrase "to say 'amen' to". 3. The end or completion of something, as to live a life to its amen.
Notes: Today's Good Word goes mostly unnoticed. Back in the 60s this joke made the rounds: "Why do we say 'amen' and not 'awomen'?" The reply: "Because it comes at the end of a hymn, not a her." (I'll admit, it is a joke better spoken than written.)
In Play: We don't want to start pray in or singing hymns in this section, so we are left with the nominal sense to work with: "Someone said they needed a drink after the contentious office meeting, and Tom Collins replied, 'Amen!'" Everyone said 'amen' to the proposition that office meetings no longer be held.
Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Latin amen, borrowed from Greek amen, which in turn was borrowed from Hebrew 'amen "truly, certainly". Amen in Hebrew was used adverbially as an expression of agreement. The West Semitic root was a-m-n "to be firm, reliable", probably seen again in mammon, Hebrew mamon. Those who advance this view proposed an later meaning of a-m-n was "security" or "deposit". Mamon originally meant "wealth, riches", and only in the New Testament was this idea personified, converting the love of money into a demigod. (We can all say "Amen!" to an expression of our appreciation to Dawn Shawley, the translation manager at Lexiteria, the parent company of alphaDictionary.com, for suggesting today's Good Word.