That constituent of the word—signification—cannot be perceived by the senses. 'What is non-sensual in the terms is their sense, their signification. Accordingly, we speak of sense-giving acts that furnish the word-sound with a sense. Terms thus become either full of sense, or more meaningful. The terms are like buckets or kegs out of which we can scoop sense.

Our scientifically organized dictionaries list these vessels of sense in alphabetical order, each entered and described according to its two constituents, sound-structure and sense-content. When we are specially concerned with what the word tells us, we stay with our dictionaries. This is how things look at first. Indeed, this "at first'' does on the whole and from the start determine the idea we have of the usual ways of being concerned with the word. On the strength of this idea, we then judge the procedure of any thinking that is concerned with the word. judge the procedure now favorably, now unfavorably, but always with reservations. Whatever our judgments may turn out to be, they are all baseless as long as it is not clear by what they are supported. For they are in fact supported by that "at first" which looks on terms as terms, not just at first but always, which looks on them, that is, as kegs and buckets. What about this much-invoked "at first"?

What we encounter at first is never what is near, but always only what is common. It possesses the unearthly power to break us of the habit of abiding in what is essential, often so definitively that we never come to abide anywhere.

When we hear directly what is spoken directly, we do not at first hear the words as terms, still less the terms as mere sound. In order to hear the pure resonance of a mere sound, we must first remove ourselves from the sphere where speech meets with understanding or lack of understanding. must disregard all that, abstract from it, if