“What Have I Done?”
What have I done? I’ve called myself ‘the grateful artist’ for years now. ‘Grateful’ was the first word that popped into my head way back when, to describe myself with all these drawings of things that I am ‘grateful’ for.
It seemed simple at the time but now I find that the word ‘grateful’ is not mentioned even once in the Bible…NOT EVEN ONCE! The Amplified Bible uses it two times which is a pretty small usage considering we are talking 66 books multiplied many times over for all the different translations. What have I done?
If the Bible doesn’t use the word ‘grateful‘, then what word does it use? Turns out it uses the word ‘thanks’. I wonder why?
So, we begin an etymology study … a nice big word meaning the study of .the origin of words and their meanings 🙂 … and discover that the word ‘grateful’ originates from the Latin word ‘gratus’ meaning ‘ pleasing / thankful’ and by the mid 15th century had progressed to Medieval Latin ‘gratitudo’. From there it became the present word ‘gratitude’ by the Late Middle English period.
The word ‘thankful’ comes from the Old English ‘pancful’ meaning ‘ satisfied/ grateful’ ‘ thoughtful, ingenious, clever’. But if you go back to the word ‘thank’ you discover that
“mid-13c., plural of thank (n.), from Old English þanc, þonc in its secondary sense “grateful thought, gratitude,” from Proto-Germanic *thanka-, from the same root as thank (v.). In prehistoric times the Germanic noun seems to have expanded from “a thinking of, a remembering” to also mean “remember fondly, think of with gratitude.” Compare Old Saxon thank, Old Frisian thank, Old Norse þökk, Dutch dank, German Dank. The Old English noun chiefly meant “thought, reflection, sentiment; mind, will, purpose,” also “grace, mercy, pardon; pleasure, satisfaction.”
And in all of that ramble lies the key.
The Bible was translated from Hebrew and Greek into English by a fellow called Tyndale in 1536 when we were still in the Early Modern English period. The word ‘grateful’ had not even become a part of the English language yet. About a hundred years too early and we all know enough examples of how language changes so fast in a century. So, Mr. Tyndale used the word he did have, which was ‘ thankful’.
The root meanings of the two words, ‘grateful’ and ‘ thankful’ are quite similar. They often appear as synonyms for each other. Of course, we must not forget that language is a continually evolving thing so a slight difference in meaning is expected, … they did have different ‘mothers’, after all.
So, what have I done?
Turns out I’ve done nothing at all… except, perhaps, follow my natural inclinations. “Grateful’ is more feeling connected, whereas, ‘ thankful’ is more thought connected. And although I do like a good think, at the heart of me I’m a much more feeling/ intuitive type. So ‘The Grateful Artist’ it shall continue to be.