Opinion | Pop Culture

Media Lukewarm on Laodicean's Meaning

Last night's spelling bee champ rattled off the word with ease, but media today haven't yet connected the Greek adjective to the Bible.

Last night Indian American girl Kavya Shivashankar, 13, won the televised Scripps National Spelling Bee and its $40,000 prize after rattling off the letters in Laodicean (pronounced lÄ-ˌä-dÉ™-ˈsÄ"-É™n). Like most spelling-bee words, the adjective doesn't get much use in everyday conversation, so news sources today have defined the word using American Heritage and Merriam-Webster Dictionary's entries.

American Heritage, 4th ed., second entry: "Indifferent or lukewarm especially in matters of religion."

Merriam-Webster's first entry is a little more helpful, but not one news source used it: "from the reproach to the church of the Laodiceans in Rev 3:15-16." Its second entry got the most play: "lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics."

Bible readers, of course, will recognize the Greek term from the Book of Revelation and from Paul's letters to the Colossians. Laodicea was a city along the river Lycus in Asia Minor ...

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