Gently, Please

I can tell by your writing, that you, like me, long for a gentler and more just society.

As a Sociologist, my work involved Affirmative Action issues.

I also volunteered at a shelter for women and children, and I am aware that men are also victims of domestic abuse.

One thing we can all do to make society gentler, is to recognize, challenge, and eliminate the number of violent idioms used in the English language.

Better yet, we can strive to eliminate many idioms altogether, since they are confusing , especially to speakers of English as a Second Language, or English speakers in other countries.

What follows is a little story I made up. Can you see all the implied violence contained in the idioms commonly used in North American English ?

The Visit

I had some time to kill yesterday before my appointment, so I stopped by at my friend Bill’s house.

He and I have always hit it off well together, and to be honest, I like him because he’s a straight shooter who never pulls any punches.

Bill showed me a picture of his new girlfriend, Eileen, and wow, she is drop dead gorgeous !!

I told Bill that I missed seeing him for such a long time, but I’d really been tied up at the office with so many projects. I get angry with my boss sometimes. I feel like yelling at him, but I bite my tongue. Bill understood. His life is also frantic. He told me about his long commute, and how he often gets hung up in traffic.

We had a great visit; it was really a blast.

We always enjoy shooting the breeze.

Then I looked at my watch and saw that it was getting late. I knew that I’d better hit the road. ( End of little story )

If you are listening to someone using violent idioms, I would encourage you to point out to them that this language can be considered offensive.

May we remind others of the power that their words hold.

May our gentle, clear, and uplifting speech be pleasing to the Lord.

Pixabay photo


51 thoughts on “Gently, Please

  1. A very thoughtful post Sally. The way I was taught by my mum and how I still believe today, is that abusive language in whatever form it takes is a sad reflection on some folks education. The English language is one of the most rich languages in our world, it really is the duty of those that speak it to learn more of it and use it wisely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A thought provoking post. I did not realise that this sort of language may not be something we might use but on reading that story I realised that it is neither something I would find alarming since it is such a part of todays casual vocabulary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Manu, for your comment. Many ‘small’ things that we may not notice contribute to creating an increasingly violent society. May our Lord always guide our words. πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for writing about this! Sometimes I don’t even think about words being slang because they are so commonly used. I went back and checked my blog to see if any of those phrases were in it. I found “hit the road”, “hit fog”, and “hung up on a chapter”, and I changed them. Thanks for pointing that out!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think we are so blinded by what has become normalized that most of us barely give a thought to the words we use. I agree, words are powerful and should be handled with care. Wonderful post, Sally.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I kind of get what you’re saying but they mean completely different things. I’ve never thought to put it in the perspective from the abused as possibly a trigger word. But at the same time I also think it’s taking cancel culture too far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My specialty , Sociology, is how individuals are affected by the groups they are in.
      Sociology is also called Macro Psychology sometimes. I have a Doctoral Degree in Sociology from the University of Toronto, Canada.
      Part of my course work included Women’s Studies, and how the roles of women and children can be improved in society.
      Thanks for your comment. πŸ€—πŸŒ·

      Liked by 3 people

  6. I believe it was Jesus who said, β€œFrom the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” As an elementary school teacher on a US Army base, I’ve met many soldiers (both men and women) for whom violent speech is the norm. What’s sad, is their children copy this habit. Yes, profane speech is a learned behavior that can be unlearned. Words matter, and kinder, gentler words should matter most.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi David ! Yes, so true, children copy violent speech patterns.
      During the research I did for this post , I found so many violent and aggressive idioms in the English language.
      There was the example of the woman who had been procrastinating about cleaning out her closet, but finally she decided to ‘take the bull by the horns’, and get started. 😁 Your work sounds really interesting.
      Thanks for the scripture reference. 🌷

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Great idea! It would helpful to reduce violence from our manner of speech and being in the world. For a theological housewife, you certainly have a lot of experience and insight to give. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Even nonviolent idioms are something to avoid if possible on blogs because they are usually relevant or understood mainly in the culture they’re from. Idioms can generate confusion or mistakenly be read as literal by someone from another part of the world and blogs can be read worldwide.


  9. Brings to mind Psalm 19 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh LORD, my ROCK and REDEEMER.” Thank you for this great post!


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