Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

A Connotation Short of a Triumph

It’s Palm Sunday.

In my bible, the story of Palm Sunday has the heading “The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem”.

I was just wondering, why is it “triumphal” and not “triumphant”? Do these words mean the same thing, or is there a nuance lost on me?

“Triumphal” is not a word I think I have heard in any other context, and that always annoys me. I think that words with only one context are next door to meaningless. This means we are one more step closer to Newspeak.

Just reading the words, I think maybe that “triumphal” implies that the event had the appearance of being triumphant, but it wasn’t really.

In this case, Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem wasn’t triumphant as it was not the end point of the mission – it was a necessary sign to put out there to fulfil what was written in the Prophets. The rest of the week did not seem victorious, until Easter Sunday.

They rolled out the palm branches and the cloaks and welcomed Jesus, and it all looked to be victorious, but within days, it perhaps became retrospectively triumphal.

So, is anyone aware of the nuance I think there must be that means there is a reason for two words rather than one?


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4 thoughts on “A Connotation Short of a Triumph

  1. I am thinking that triumphal means that the event hasn’t reached its end whereas triumphant has an endgame result meaning. I think, I love learning more. Happy Palm Sunday!!

  2. American Heritage Dictionary:

    Home > Library > Literature & Language > Dictionary
    adj. 1. Relating to or having the nature of a triumph.
    2. Celebrating or commemorating a victory or triumph: a triumphal arch; a triumphal ode.

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/triumphal#ixzz1qsU6K6ik

    Number 2 is interesting: triumphal arches are permanent, and thus always celebrating a triumph. In which case, it’s sort of the opposite of what you suggest.

    In other words: beats me 🙂

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