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semantics

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noun plural but singular or plural in construction se·man·tics \si-ˈman-tiks\

Simple Definition of semantics

  • : 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. 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 developmentb (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

  2. 2 :  general semantics

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

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


Medical Dictionary

semantics

play
noun plural but singular or plural in construction se·man·tics \si-ˈmant-iks\

Medical 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 developmentb:  semiotic:  a branch of semiotic dealing with the relations between signs and what they refer to and including theories of denotation, extension, naming, and truth




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