To anyone who's been paying attention to news in paganism lately, you're going to rightly assume that this train of thought is inspired by Christian Day's public use of the word warlock to describe himself, in an attempt to reclaim the word.
My own research agrees with his, that the word really does not mean "oathbreaker", and that the Llewellyn books are mistaken. Personally, when I hear "warlock" I think of Uncle Arthur from Bewitched, so it always makes me smile.
But back to my real point, does "word reclaiming" ever actually really work? I know there are some women who feel they've reclaimed the "B" word as a show of their strength, but while that may be great for them I think for the rest of us we generally think "unpleasant person" about that word. While we in the pagan community are pretty comfortable with the word "witch", do any of us check in with our non-pagan friends/family to hear *their* reaction to the word?
I thought we'd reclaimed "witch" ages ago, but was surprised to learn recently that my non-pagan friends still think of "witch" negatively, unless they're thinking Harry Potter, Bewitched, or Charmed. There are always going to be the folks who like the word because they think we have "ooky powers and stuff" (quoting an old friend), but lots of folks still have a fear reaction to the word, or at the very least discomfort.
I am by no means intending a criticism of anyone, but I'm wondering how many of us are a little deluded about how much reclaiming words really works?