Historical research is dependent upon written records, and written accounts are based on words. Words can have more than one definition, and definitions evolve over time. One must consider who made the record and the locality and period of time of its creation. To a visitor from the British Isles to the United States, the term “strip mall” has an entirely different definition than it does for an American. The most troublesome aspect of terminology is that the context might not alert the reader to the fact that a much more subtle meaning rather than the current one lurks in term. Sometimes, it can require a radical revision in research.
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