Lionize Love

This morning in our local news, there was an article announcing the death of a prominent citizen. The article went on to lionize him.

Lionize (ahyuh-nahyz) is a verb that means to treat a person as a celebrity or to assign great social importance to a person. The article lionized this person by praising him, listing all of the great things he has done for the community for the past 35 years, and listing all of his awards and accomplishments.

Communities lionize people who have spent countless hours in service to others by honoring them at banquets, giving great speeches about them, giving them gifts, or bestowing honorary university degrees to them. They also lionize veterans who return from the war in Iraq. They have welcome home signs, parties, and other special activities. Communities might also lionize a prominent writer or singer or business person. They do this to give recognition and to show their appreciation and gratitude for their work and efforts.

The next word has two definitions that in some ways are similar but in other ways quite different. And that word is requite. Requite (ri-kwahyt) is a verb that means to make a repayment, to reimburse, to compensate. If someone has done you a kindness or a favor, you want to requite their kindness by doing something for them. For example, there have been times when I have needed to borrow an egg or some sugar from my neighbors. I am in the middle of making cookies and run out and I don’t want to drive in to town to the store to get the ingredients I need. So my neighbor gives it to me. When the cookies are out of the oven, I requite their kindness by giving them a plate of warm cookies.

Maybe you want to requite another’s love. Assuming that you love that person in return, requiting that love might involve giving the person flowers or some other gift (as a man would do for a woman), or do something kind for that person, or profess your love for the other person. You might even want to lionize that person by throwing a special party or having a big extravaganza.

On the other hand, the second meaning of requite means to revenge. If someone has hurt you or done something mean to you, you might want to requite them by returning a wrong with a wrong. You might want to get even. Maybe somebody at work humiliated you in front of others, you want to requite that person and find ways to humiliate or belittle that person.

The word requite comes from Middle English. ‘Re’ means back and ‘quite’ means to clear, or pay up.’ So you can see how it has the two definitions. If someone did something nice, you want to pay back in kind. If someone does something mean, again, you want to ‘get back’ or to settle a score with that person.

I personally think that requiting love or ionizing love is a much better idea than requiting meanness!


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