Word of the Day: SEMANTICS

se·man·tics

noun plural but singular or plural in construction \si-ˈman-tiks\

: the study of the meanings of words and phrases in language

: the meanings of words and phrases in a particular context

Full Definition of SEMANTICS

1 :  the study of meanings:

 a :  the historical and psychological study and the classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development
 b (1) :  semiotics (2) :  a branch of semiotic dealing with the relations between signs and what they refer to and including theories of denotation, extension, naming, and truth

3 a :  the meaning or relationship of meanings of a sign or set of signs; especially :  connotative meaning

 b :  the language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a desired effect on an audience especially through the use of words with novel or dual meanings

Examples of SEMANTICS

  1. More than semantics is at stake. In the case of obesity, the debate has heightened in the wake of major diet-pill recalls last year. Many new diet nostrums are in various stages of testing, and the FDA’s bar for approving new drugs is lower for disease treatments than for other problems, such as baldness or skin wrinkles. —Laura Johannes et al., Wall Street Journal, 9 Feb. 1998
  2. Over the years Wierzbicka has gained a distinct reputation for playing hardball with others in the linguistics community. Though her rhetoric can be rather scathing at times, there is no question that her studies in semantics are a force to be reckoned with. —Joseph Hilferty, Word, April 1997

Origin of SEMANTICS

(see semantic)

First Known Use: 1893

se·man·tics

noun plural but singular or plural in construction \si-ˈmant-iks\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of SEMANTICS

: the study of meanings: a : the historical and psychological study and the classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development b (1) : semiotic (2) : a branch of semiotic dealing with the relations between signs and what they refer to and including theories of denotation, extension, naming, and truth

semantics

(Concise Encyclopedia)

Study of meaning, one of the major areas of linguistic study (see linguistics). Linguists have approached it in a variety of ways. Members of the school of interpretive semantics study the structures of language independent of their conditions of use. In contrast, the advocates of generative semantics insist that the meaning of sentences is a function of their use. Still another group maintains that semantics will not advance until theorists take into account the psychological questions of how people form concepts and how these relate to word meanings.

 

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/semantics?show=0&t=1410264057

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