Zeela Rafija’s Expanded Definition Of Energy

TO: Prof. Jason Ellis
FROM: Zeela Rafija
DATE: 26 Mar. 2021
SUBJECT: Expanded Definition of Energy


I have decided to discuss on energy. In today’s modern world, energy has become unavoidable part of our lives. Without it, we go for a single day. In the 21st century, almost everything that surrounded us required energy to perform tasks. When we talk about the uses of energy, the most basic energy uses are watching television, washing clothes, lighting the house, taking a shower, the use of a computer, running appliances and cooking. There are also commercial uses of energy and in transportation. There are several forms of energy such as heat, kinetic, light, potential energy, and electrical energy.


To understand the definition of Energy, it requires us to look back at the origin of the word. As many other words, the definition for the word energy has multiple origins, partly a borrowing from Latin and Greek. Comparing it with other parts of the world, Middle French used to call it energie (énergie) which means efficacy and force of expression, just as Spanish, the word energy is used as energía. The first use of the word was in 1545 by E. Walshe Office & Duty Fighting for Country. As a general concept, it defines power, strength, force; the ability or capacity to produce an obsolete effect (oed.com). Since the origin of the word has been used in many different platforms to specify multiple uses of energy.  Even though the definition of energy stays the same in all platforms, the use of the word changes.

For example, the first use of the word energy in physics was by Thomas Young in 1800. Thomas Young later established the wave nature of light through interference experiments. Also, between 1842 and 1847, scientists like Julius Robert von Mayer, James Prescott Joule, and Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz discovered the basic laws of conservation of energy, but they never used the word energy. However, the word did not gain popularity until Albert Einstein established the general equivalence of energy and mass with his theory of relativity (home.uni-leipzig.de). Although most people use the word energy in their daily lives, it may have a different meaning in different situations. The word is also used in multiple religions which led to me learning more about the word and how it is defined in different religious point of views.


According to Marcia Montenegro in Christianity “Energy in these contexts refers to an unquantifiable unknown energy that is connected to spiritual beliefs about God and/or creation” (Montenegro, Para 2). From her perspective, she believes the use of the word energy has nothing to do with frequencies that have a physical and scientific basis, like electricity or radio waves. To the authors point of view, it seems to be that the word energy falsely claims by scientific foundation, but the word is spiritually based. As she defines “all forms of chi therapies and are based on spiritual beliefs in the invisible (and undocumented) energy called chi, also spelled qi or ki” (christiananswersforthenewage.org). If we look at another religion such as Hinduism, the word energy is defined as “Sakti” which means “A divine cosmic energy that represents feminine energy and the dynamic forces that move through the universe” (The Editors at Chopra.com). From a Hinduism perspective, it seems to be that Shakti is a universal energy force which can be called upon when in need to fight off one’s own personal demons or when seeking protection. People may call upon Durga to provide people with Energy (Sakti) to bring back balance in their life (chopra.com). Whether the energy is defined as spiritual beliefs or seeking protection against demons, it all comes back to the definition of the power to work.

However, the term energy has been lasting among us for decades either to describe how energy is used to create electricity or to describe how our body functions. For instance, scientists are using the ocean to create renewable energy which is carbon free and has a significant impact on energy supplies. According to the article Marine Energy by David Kerr “Power can be extracted from the tides by using barrage (or dam) to impound water at high tide and then, as the tides ebbs and when sufficient head difference exists, to let the water out through a turbine to generate electricity” (Kerr, 2007, p. 972). In addition, in order for humans to move or to do work, we need to have energy. Mitochondria is an organelle which has the function to convert the food we eat into energy for our body to function. As it describes in the article 15 Energy for Lifeby Andrew Morris“Mitochondria make this energy available for use in the cell. They do this by transferring the energy through a series of chemical reaction of specialized molecules, which then carry the energy to where it’s needed” (Morris, 2016, p. 153). As it is described, the word energy has different uses in different platforms, but the definition is the same.

Working Definition

Based on the definitions that I have quoted and discussed above, and the contextual uses of the term which has been defined differently in different fields- energy has been evolving within us for decades as a central power.

Regardless of how it is defined, the meaning of the term remains the same.In the process of defining energy, it has been clear that a word may be used in various written contexts. Along in the future, the use of the word energy might take a different turn, but the definition of the word will stay the same.


Energy, n. Energy. Oxford English Dictionary.


Snurr. R., and D. Freude. The History of the Word Energy. Historical Development of the Word “Energy” Energy Fundamentals. https://home.uni-leipzig.de/energy/energy-fundamentals/01.htm

Montenegro, Marcia. The Religion of Life Force Energy. The Religion of Life Force Energy.http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_Religion%20of%20Life%20Force%20Energy.html

Chopra.com. (2018, Dec28). “Shakti: A Universal Force.” The Chopra Center. http://www.chopra.com/article/shakti-universal-force.

Morris. A. (2016). Why Icebergs Float: Exploring Science in Everyday Life, p.153. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/j.ctt1gxxpgr?refreqid=search -gateway:2d4db6d52cac12d577738c01565954fb.
Kerr, D. (2007). “Marine Energy” Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 36(1853), 971–992. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/25190483?refreqid=search-gateway: aa0203406cf8ffb6d1896b395d54ddf6.

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