word ... n.
1. A sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning and may consist of a single morpheme or of a combination of morphemes.
2. Something said; an utterance, remark, or comment: May I say a word about that?
3. Computer Science A set of bits constituting the smallest unit of addressable memory.
4. words ... Discourse or talk; speech: Actions speak louder than words.
5. words ... Music: The text of a vocal composition; lyrics.
6. An assurance or promise; sworn intention: She has kept her word.
7. a. A command or direction; an order: gave the word to retreat. b. A verbal signal; a password or watchword.
8. a. News: Any word on your promotion? See Synonyms at news. b. Rumor: Word has it they're divorcing.
9. words ... Hostile or angry remarks made back and forth.
10. Used euphemistically in combination with the initial letter of a term that is considered offensive or taboo or that one does not want to utter: "Although economists here will not call it a recession yet, the dreaded 'R' word is beginning to pop up in the media" (Francine S. Kiefer).
11. Word ... a. See Logos. b. The Scriptures; the Bible.
So, what's in a word? My first answer to that question would be ... power.
I think words can be a great encouragement to others, or they can be used as weapons. They can lift up, build up and support, or they can slash and tear down and destroy. Words have the power to heal or the power to wound. Words can take us soaring to new heights, or they can drag us down to the depths of despair. They can add pleasure to a dull, seemingly meaningless life, or they can shackle us deep in the darkest dungeon of loneliness.
In one of his more direct, sobering utterances, the teacher from Nazareth tells us that words carry with them a great responsibility; that we will have to give an account on the judgment day for every careless word we have ever spoken.
But we are also told in the scriptures that, when it comes to reckless words, we have a greater responsibility than to merely try to silence them. We should seek to do good with our speech. Proverbs tells us that reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
We do have a choice in the matter. Words don't just happen; they are not someone else's fault; they are not forced from the outside. Excuses like "He made me so mad that I just lashed out at him" or "She pushed me to the point where I just wanted to scream at someone" do not reflect badly on the subject of such wrath -- it is a reflection of who we are in the deepest recesses of our being. In fact, the Bible tells us that our words come forth from that which is stored up in our hearts.
Relationships sometimes suffer because we fail to realize that we are, ultimately, the only ones responsible for what we say. We need to check to see what is coming out of our mouths, and then make the necessary adjustments.