se·​man·​tic | \si-ˈman-tik \
variants: or less commonly semantical \ si-​ˈman-​ti-​kəl \

Definition of semantic 

1 : of or relating to meaning in language

2 : of or relating to semantics

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from semantic

semantically \ si-​ˈman-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of semantic in a Sentence

the process of semantic development

Recent Examples on the Web

Thus past, present and future converge to create an artwork whose meaning is immediately accessible but whose spatial and semantic depth successfully merge to produce one of the greatest works of art ever created. —Mr. Robert E. Gordon, WSJ, "A Multi-Layered Drama," 13 July 2018 And to be clear, this is a really important semantic point. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump misquotes James Clapper to push ‘SPYGATE’ narrative," 23 May 2018 The context: There’s a semantic debate in the press over whether the FBI’s informant in 2016, an American professor in London, was a spy infiltrating the Trump camp or just doing his job against possible Russian intelligence-gathering. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Trump's anti-media tweetstorm: Some hits, some misses, all red meat," 1 June 2018 Japan has performed similar semantic gymnastics before. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Japan’s Ships May Carry Fighter Jets, But Don’t Call Them Carriers," 29 May 2018 Flipping their syntactic form does nothing to their semantic role. The Economist, "The weasel voice in journalism," 24 May 2018 Attempts to promote diversity without alienating other groups can lead to semantic and legal gymnastics. Lauren Weber, WSJ, "Companies Trying to Deal With Discrimination Face Backlash," 6 May 2018 In a sense, that’s a semantic and symbolic distinction. Victor Mather, New York Times, "Why Is Russia at the Olympics?," 1 Feb. 2018 In real estate, there’s more than a semantic difference between a dead end and a cul-de-sac. Sue Corbett, New York Times, "Real Estate, Parking and Violence: A Novel of New York," 3 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'semantic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of semantic

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for semantic

Greek sēmantikos significant, from sēmainein to signify, mean, from sēma sign, token

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about semantic

Statistics for semantic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for semantic

The first known use of semantic was in 1890

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for semantic



English Language Learners Definition of semantic

: of or relating to the meanings of words and phrases

: of or relating to semantics

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on semantic

What made you want to look up semantic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!