spankingvshitting

I want to start this post off with a quick little exercise.  It’s optional, of course, but I think it will interesting if nothing else.  We’re about to dive into the whole spanking vs. hitting debate, and before getting into it, let’s first find out what these two words mean to you.  Then, at the end of the post, you can compare your answers with mine, and we’ll see how similar they are.  Sound like a plan?  Okay, terrific.

  If you’re participating in this mini exercise, go ahead and grab a writing utensil and some paper, or pull up the notepad or Microsoft Word program or whatever else you may use on your smart little computing device and give your most balanced, well-thought-out answers to the following two questions:

1) – When you read or hear the word “hitting”, in the context of human interaction, what thoughts immediately come to mind?  

2) – When you read or hear the word “spanking”, in the context of human interaction, what thoughts immediately come to mind?  

  Once you’re finished, set it aside and continue reading on with this post, pretty please (you know, if you want to).

  Before doing any research on these two terms, they already mean two drastically different things in my mind (which you’ll see at the end of this post).  It’s very easy for me to differentiate the two, and that has absolutely nothing to do with semantics, or technicalities, or linguistics, or anything else of the sort.  They wouldn’t be two different words if they meant the same exact thing.  That’s my take on things, anyway.

  So what’s the difference between the words “spanking” and “hitting”?  What are their true meanings?  How blurry are the lines between these two words when it comes to their definitions, intentions, and interpretations?  What’s the meaning of life?  I want to know, by golly, and I’m going to educate myself.  Call me crazy, but I find this debate to be interesting and worth my time.  “Crazy” wouldn’t be the worst thing I’ve ever been called.  Not. Even. Close.  My 4th grade teacher had MUCH more colorful words to say about me.

  Hopefully you, the reader, learn a little something as well.  That’s the goal, my friends.  That’s the goal.

  As I gathered my things (literally my computer only) to embark down this journey together with so many of my friends (all zero of them), I thought to myself, “Self, let’s do this the right way.  Let’s do this with no bias and no fabrication whatsoever.  Let’s gather the most accurate information from the most credible resources we can find and present it to the people in an unbiased manner.“  Great idea, Self.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

  Taking the wonderful advice of Self, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  As I examine these two words, “spanking” and “hitting”, I’m going to do my best to leave my personal bias out of it.  My personal opinion will come at the end of this article.  You’ll know it as such, since I will write “IN MY OPINION” in large bold capital letters preceding my opinion.

  The following information is presented in the truest, most unbiased, and accurate way I am capable of presenting it.

HIT or HITTING

The following definition(s) of the word “hit” are taken word-for-word from the Merriam-Webster website:

As a transitive verb:

  1. To reach with or as if with a blow.
  2. To come in contact with.
  3. To strike (as a ball) with an object (as a bat, club, or racket) so as to impart or redirect motion.
  4. To cause to come in contact.
  5. To deliver (a blow) by action.
  6. To apply forcefully or suddenly. Example given: “Hit the brakes.”

As an intransitive verb:

  1. To strike a blow.
  2. To arrive with a forceful effect like that of a blow. Example given: “The storm hit.”
  3. To come in contact with something.

  All of the definitions of the the word “hit” above are included because they pertain, or may potentially pertain, to human interaction, which is the context and purpose of this post.  Other definitions of “hit” or “hitting” were not included as they were not relevant to the argument. (i.e. we really hit it off, he ordered a hit on his ex-wife, he was hitting on her at the club, etc.).  For a complete and comprehensive definition of “hit” or “hitting” from the Merriam-Webster website, click here.

  It’s worth noting that the linked Merriam-Webster webpage does not include the word “spank” as a synonym to “hit”, nor does it include “spank” as a related word.

The following definition(s) of the word “hit” are taken word-for-word from the World English Dictionary website:

  1. To deal (a strike or a blow) to (a person or thing); strike.
  2. To come into violent contact with.
  3. To make or cause to make forceful contact; knock or bump.  Example given: “I hit my arm on the table.”
  4. To propel or cause to move by striking.  Example given: “To hit a ball.”

  Once again, all of the definitions of the word “hit” above are included because they pertain, or may potentially pertain, to human interaction.  Other definitions of “hit” or “hitting” were not included as they were not relevant to the argument.  For a complete and comprehensive definition of “hit” or “hitting” from the World English Dictionary website, click here.

The following definition(s) of the word “hitting” are taken from Google when searching the term, “Hitting definition.

  1. Bring one’s hand or a tool or weapon into contact with (someone or something) quickly and forcefully.
  2. Accidentally strike (part of one’s body) against something, often causing injury.

SPANK or SPANKING

The following definition of the word “spank” is taken word-for-word from the Merriam-Webster (dictionary) website:

As a transitive verb:

  1. To strike especially on the buttocks with the open hand.

The following definition of the word “spank” is taken word-for-word from the Merriam-Webster (thesaurus) website:

As a noun:

  1. A hard strike with a part of the body or an instrument.

  It’s worth noting that the linked Merriam-Webster (thesaurus) webpage does include the word “hit” as a synonym to “spank”, but it does not include “hit” as a related word.

The following definitions of the word “spank” and “spanking” are taken word-for-word from the World English Dictionary website:

  1. To strike (a person, usually a child) with the open hand, a slipper, etc., especially on the buttocks, as in punishment.
  2. A blow given in spanking; a smart or resounding slap.
  3. To slap or smack with the open hand, esp on the buttocks.
  4. A slap or a series of slaps with the flat of the hand.
  5. (Spanking definition) – A series of spanks, esp on the buttocks, usually as a punishment for children.

The following definition of the word “spanking” is taken from Google when searching the term, “Spanking definition.

  1. An act of slapping, esp. on the buttocks as a punishment for children.

  As you know, all of the definitions of the words “spank” and “spanking” above are included because they pertain, or may potentially pertain, to human interaction.  Other definitions of “spank” or “spanking” were not included as they were not relevant to the argument. (i.e. brand spanking new, we had a spanking good time, etc.).  For a complete and comprehensive definition of “spank” or “spanking” from the Merriam-Webster website, click here.  For a complete and comprehensive definition of “spank” or “spanking” from the World English Dictionary website, click here.

IN MY OPINION

  See, I told you I’d let you know when my opinion was forthcoming.  It’s forthcoming.  Doing all this research makes me feel like I’m in college again.  Yippie.

  I think, after researching, examining, studying, and interpreting the definitions of both “hit(ting)” and “spank(ing)” outlined above, there is little question as to how similar these two words are.  When these two words are stripped down to face value and taken in context of black and white definitions only, there is no question, at least in my estimation, that they are fairly close to being the same thing.

  When one individual spanks another, there’s no denying that “hitting” is involved.  One is “hitting” another with an open hand or implement directly on the buttocks.  The difference between the two terms that stands out to me the most, based on the definitions above, is that the “spanking” definitions given by all three sources make it quite clear that “spanking” is done especially on the buttocks.  None of the “hitting” definitions include that small, yet very important, piece of information.

   From two of the three sources, the definitions of “spanking” refer to the disciplining of children.  I don’t disagree with the validity of that since the spanking of children is most definitely prevalent in today’s society.  However, I do challenge the completeness of those definitions since clearly the spanking of consenting adults, for whatever reason those consenting adults may have for doing so, is prevalent in today’s society as well.

  Perhaps the biggest problem I have with every single definition above, for both “hit(ting)” and “spank(ing)”, is that there is no mention of intent behind either action.  “Hitting” definitions use terms such as “forcefully and suddenly”, and “violent contact with”, but there’s no mention of one’s intent when “hitting” another.  Likewise, there’s no mention of intent of one individual “spank(ing)” another in any of the definitions of the word(s), either.  

  To me, intent behind both “hitting” and “spanking” is the biggest differentiating factor between the two.  There’s not one single mention of intent behind either action in any of the definitions above from what I consider to be three credible sources.  Perhaps that’s due to the difficultly of proving intent of either action when put into question, which is certainly a valid argument, but I do feel intent is an important component to the definitions of both terms.  The fact that all of these sources exclude intent from their definitions keeps the lines blurred when it comes to defining and differentiating characteristics of the two actions.

Having said all that, I’m now going to answer the two questions I asked you to answer at the beginning of this post.

1) – When you read or hear the word “hitting”, in the context of human interaction, what thoughts immediately come to mind?

  When I read or hear that one individual “hit” another, I immediately think of “hitting” in this context as an impulsive action with intent to physically harm.  I generally think of it as a provoked response to a negative or painful stimulus (i.e. a hurtful word exchange between two people, or a reaction to another individual intentionally inflicting physical harm upon you).  I think the action of “hitting” is primarily done out of anger or emotional pain triggered by provocation.  I think of closed fists, I think of the action being done anywhere on the body (arm, chest, face, head, etc.), I think of malicious intent, and most importantly, I think of no consent given from the individual being “hit.”

2) – When you read or hear the word “spanking”, in the context of human interaction, what thoughts immediately come to mind?

  When I read or hear that one individual “spanked” another, I primarily think of the act of “spanking” as being done in a controlled environment with a controlled demeanor, and with loving intent.  I also think of “spanking” as strikes falling directly on the buttocks (not anywhere on the body, as I do “hitting”), for the primary purpose of physical correction in response to a negative action or behavior.  I think of calm premeditation, and I think of all individuals involved being  in complete control of themselves and their actions, fully understanding and consenting to what they’re doing and what situation they’re in.

  I also think of “spanking” as a harmless, playful expression of love between two people.  I think one can “spank” another to show affection.  I think of this in both the context of a sexual encounter, or in the context of every day life.  For example, I think of a husband calmly and playfully striking, or “spanking”, his wife on the buttocks a few times in passing, with no intent to harm or injure whatsoever, as a physical act and expression of love.

  And, simply for full disclosure and completeness, I also think of spanking children as discipline, but since this is an adult domestic discipline blog, I will not elaborate further on that. 

  The biggest difference in my two answers to these questions is the intent behind the actions.  I feel that “hitting” is done to intentionally harm or injure, and I feel “spanking” is done to intentionally and lovingly correct, as well as to intentionally express love and acceptance of another.  Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your position in the debate, the intent of both actions was not included in any of the provided definitions.

  As I said, the stripped down, black and white definitions of “hitting” and “spanking” are quite similar when taken at face value.  I acknowledge that, I accept that, and I do not deny that.  I completely understand why a person would feel that the two actions are “the same thing.”  When looking at the definitions, that’s an easy conclusion to come to.  Semantically, at face value, they’re very close to being the same thing.  I would argue, however, that for as close as the definitions are to each other, they do have differences.  I acknowledge that, I accept that, and I do not deny that as well.  The differences may be slight but they are there, and in my opinion those differences are significant.

  So how similar to my answers were your answers to these two questions?  Do you think “hitting” and “spanking” are the same thing?  Why or why not?  I’d love to hear your opinion and/or feedback if you’d like to share it in the comments section below.

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