The word and its Meaning are inseparable. A word may appear simple, yet it may possess potency that, though dormant for many centuries, it suddenly shakes off its slumber and changes the course of history. One such word is arhan. People used it, for ages from the dawn of the Vedic period to the advent of the Buddha, for naming a worthy or venerable person. The Sakyan sage used this words as a nucleus around which to weave a gospel that proclaimed to man that he was no longer a helpless victim of an inexorable destiny that tossed him up and down, as it pleased, in endless cycles of births and deaths, and put him on the path of enlightenment which could be his, if he so wished, here and now.
This book, The Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected, by Isaline Blew Horner tells in a lucid Style how the word came to have its sublime connotation which paved the way for arhanship to become for man a desirable, possible and attainable state in this very existence.