Words that only have one context tend to lose their meaning, or have it shift drastically, especially if their meanings are abstract. The phenomenon is similar to how cranberry morphemes operate, only with whole words; you get an idea of the meaning by what context you have, but without another context to gain perspective, any other meaning the word has completely disappears.

That's probably not clear, so I'm going to invent an example so you can see it better. Suppose that you only ever heard the word blonde in the context of dumb blonde jokes. You would get the impression that blonde means stereotypically stupid, or somesuch. That 'blonde' actually refers to the color of someone's hair is something you wouldn't be able to divine based on this one context.

Anyway, I see this kind of thing happen a lot with religious vocabulary. We have a word like 'holy', where we can say things like 'God is holy', or 'Holy Spirit', but (outside of expletives) not much else. Webster 1913 has a different impression of what it means than I had, and a certain religious friend of mine couldn't define it at all when I asked him to in a discussion awhile back.

In the same vein, what of righteousness, or God's grace, or blessing? Can we truly appreciate these things if we don't know what they really mean?

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