Going or Staying

As I was writing one of yesterday’s posts, I thought about using either the word “housebound” or the word “homebound” to describe my carless situation. I decided against both, because they imply an inability to leave the house, such as could be the case for someone very old and sick. I am still capable of walking outside and into the sunshine, thank goodness.

But thinking about those words made me realize how tricky the word “bound” is. It has several definitions, some of which are nearly opposite in meaning. Consequently, if you say that you’re “homebound,” it could mean that you’re traveling toward home or that you’re stuck in it.

It’s probably best to avoid “homebound” and use the alternatives “homeward bound” and “housebound” instead. Life is full of little ambiguities, but let’s avoid them where we can. At the very least we should know if we’re going or if we’re staying!

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