“Lost” is two concepts with one definition

One great abyss between men and women involves being lost navigationally. It always creates an uproar. I’m no different from the typical guy when it comes to asking for directions. I’d never do it.

I think the problem is that lost is two independent concepts that are represented by only one word. Interestingly, all men think lost means unable to find origin and all women think lost means unable to find destination. In the car, a woman says, “We’re lost!” and the man says, “No we’re not!” Both are correct. However, the meanings they’re both using are similar, so they don’t realize they’re talking about different concepts.

Arguments can continue for a long time if neither party understands the other is using a different, similar word. A woman can suggest, “Let’s stop and ask for directions!” and it be a reasonable suggestion for either definition of lost. I’d liken the conversation between a man and a women over whether they’re lost to something like this.

“I can’t stand poetry.”

“How can you not like poultry? It’s my favorite.”

“It’s just so tasteless.”

“Not if you buy the right kind!”

“I’m not paying for poetry!”

“What, you’re going to produce your own?”

“Maybe I am!”

Just like two people can both dislike poetry and like poultry and argue, two people can clearly understand that they can find their origin but not their destination and still argue. Lost is a homophone that only has one definition listed in the dictionary.


About this essay