Friday, July 15, 2011


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In the English language, it can be seen that any word can have several connotations. The word “patience,” for example, can be defined in several different ways depending on the source it comes from.

In a Websters Unabridged Dictionary (141), patience is defined as, “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.” On the other hand, a Rogets Abridged Dictionary (57) defines patience as, “calm endurance of a hardship, provocation, pain, delay, etc.” or, “tolerant perseverance or forbearance.” The similarities of these two definitions from separate dictionaries are that patience is a force so that someone or something can withstand or suppress something. The difference between these two dictionary definitions is that the abridged dictionary uses specific forms of the things that patience suppresses.

Patience also has several different meanings in subject dictionaries. In a Dictionary of Psychology (58), patience is defined as, “a person receiving medical, surgical, or other form of treatment for a disorder or illness.” This definition has very little to do with the common unabridged or abridged dictionary definition, but on the other hand, it has much to do with the medical field. In a Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, patience is defined as

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One of the minor virtues in Christian allegory, widely represented in cycles of the virtues and vices in medieval art, but somewhat rare later. (5)

This source concludes that patience is a minor virtue in the Christian religion. This means that one should practice patience in everyday life. In a Dictionary of Chiches, the definition of patience is

Patience of Job � an idiom clich� meaning extraordinary patience or forbearing, as “she must have the patience of Job to look after all those children and not lose her temper.” (145)

In the story of the patience of Job, one should learn what patience is what the importance of patience is in one’s everyday Christian life. The bible illustrates that patience enables people to endure for God, and that responding correctly to all situations of life is the key to enduring happiness. It is also defined as “cheerful endurance.” This means that Patience is the ability to maintain godly character and a right spirit in different situations. This story concludes that patience is demonstrated by controlled speech, a lack of selfishness, and Godly response. It shows people that God uses trials to build our patience so we can develop the endurance necessary to live our whole life for God.

In, Rogets A-Z Thesaurus (575), patience has synonyms of forbearance, fortitude, composure, submission, endurance, stoicism, tolerance, and imperturbability. These words closely relate to the actual definition of patience because in an actual dictionary, patience is a trait when someone can hold back an urge to do something. The words that the thesaurus uses to compare to Patience are also defined as an urge or temptation.

In a pictorial source, Richard Nunemaker took a picture of a gorilla sitting in a bush with its hand under its chin thinking or waiting for something. This picture captures the word patience because the gorilla seems like it is enduring something painful or suppressing something.

In a movie entitled, “Dogma,” patience is used many times. This movie is about how two angels fall from heaven and have to walk through the gates of a church so that they can get back into heaven. What they don’t realize is that once they walk into the gates of the church, they will prove God wrong and unmake existence. During the movie, one of the fallen angels named Bartleby says

The humans have besmirched everything bestowed on them. They were given Paradise, they threw it away. They were given this planet, they destroyed it. They were favored best among all His endeavors, and some of them dont even believe He exists! And in spite of it all, Hes shown them infinite fing patience at every turn. What about us? I asked you...once to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. What was the result? Our expulsion from Paradise! WHERE WAS HIS INFINITE FING PATIENCE THEN?! ITS NOT RIGHT, ITS NOT FAIR! Weve paid our debt. Dont you think its time? Dont you think its time we went home? and to do that, I think we have to dispatch of our would-be dispatchers.

Bartleby is saying that even though many people do not believe in God and sin regularly, God has persevered through his hardships and has not punished the humans. On the other hand, Bartleby and another fallen angel, Loki, were expelled from heaven for a minor offense. They are angry that God did not show them nearly as much patience as he did the humans.

A French proverb says that “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” This means that when one is enduring patience, it is not fun at all, but after he reaches his goal or has endured something, it is worth the wait.

In a poem by Lucy Maud Montgomery entitled, “Which Has More Patience � Man or Woman?,” Montgomery comes to the conclusion that women have more patience than men. She shows this by saying that when men are presented with work, they will protest about it very much. She also says that when an man is obligated to wait, he will be very impatient the entire time. This relates to patience because the actual dictionary definition is one who can endure something, and this entire poem is about how men cannot do this.

In another poem by Emily Dickinson entitled, “Patience � has a quiet Outer,” Dickinson writes

Patience�has a quiet Outer�

Patience�Look within�

Is an Insects futile forces


Scaping one�against the other

Fruitlesser to fling�

Patience�is the Smiles exertion

Through the quivering�

This poem describes how every person in the world has infinite patience hidden inside of them. When Dickinson says that “Patience-is the smile’s exertion through the quivering,” she means that patience is what provokes someone to do something even when they are not sure if they want to do it.

In another poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning entitled, “Patience Taught By Nature,” Browning writes

O DREARY life, we cry, O dreary life !

And still the generations of the birds

Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds

Serenely live while we are keeping strife

With Heavens true purpose in us, as a knife

Against which we may struggle ! Ocean girds

Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards

Unweary sweep, hills watch unworn, and rife

Meek leaves drop year]y from the forest-trees

To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass

In their old glory O thou God of old,

Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these !--

But so much patience as a blade of grass

Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.

In this poem Browning asks God for patience to make her life better. She is clearly having some kind of problem with her life and she wants patience so that she can get through it.

Periodicals and newspapers use patience in the way it is used in a normal dictionary. They relate to patience as a persistence, a willingness to suppress something, or a calm endurance.

In a bibliography on George Washington, he is described as having many important traits. One of the most important of his traits the bibliography says is patience.

In an atlas there is a small town in Pennsylvania named Patience. This town has a very small population and is extremely rural. The reason this town might be named patience is because it has a very small population and is waiting to become a thriving city someday.

In three separate interviews on patience, all three people answered in a way that relates to the definition in an actual dictionary. All of the interviewees are relatives in my family and took about two minutes to think about what their own definition of patience is. The first interviewee, my sister Kelley Schott, said that patience is, “an ability to suppress an urge to do something.” The second interviewee, my father David Schott, said that it is, “being able to not do something, or wait.” Finally, the third interviewee, my uncle George Schott, said that patience is defined as, “being able to wait for something.” The similarity between these interviews is that all of the people being interviewed thought of patience the same way that it is defined in the dictionary.

In my own artwork, I depicted patience as a man sitting on top of an hourglass seemingly waiting for something. The reason I chose to use this type of picture is because the man is painted as waiting for something, and he is sitting on the hourglass because it is taking time for him to wait for the thing he is thinking about. The picture relates to the actual dictionary definition of patience because the man seemingly waiting for something to happen.

Patience can have many different meanings. With different sources of literature, artwork, and modern ideas, patience can be viewed as many different things. The word can shift in meaning from many different sources because each source focuses on a different idea or topic.


Agnes, Michael (ed.). Roget’s A-Z Thesaurus. Cleveland, Ohio Macmillan, 1.

Colman, Andrew. Dictionary of Psychology. New York Oxford University Press, 001.

Costello, Robert (ed.). Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. New Your Random House Reference & Information Publishing, 18.

“Dogma.” Movie. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Lauren Films, 1.

Gregory, Dolores. “One ‘Lesson’ Too Many.” The Washington Post. /4/0, C04.

Hall, James. Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art. United States Westview Press, 174.

Kirkpatrick, Betty. Chiches. New York, New York St. Martin’s Griffin, 16.

Metcalf, Jonathan (ed.). Oxford Illustrated American Dictionary. London, England DK Publishing, 18.

No Author. “Washington, George.” Online. /5/0. http//

Nunemaker, Richard. “Patience.” Online. /5/0.

“Patience �has a Quiet Outer” Online. /5/0

“Patience Taught by Nature” Online. /5/0

“Patience.” Guns N’ Roses. CD-ROM.

“Patience.” Online. /5/0.

Schott, David. Interrogative Interview. /6/0.

Schott, George. Interrogative Interview. /6/0.

Schott, Kelley. Interrogative Interview. /6/0.

“Shakespeare.” Online. /5/0.

Shales, Tom. “A Compelling Story, Numbingly Repeated.” The Washington Post. //0, C01.

“Which Has More Patience � Man or Woman?” Online. /5/0

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