semantic

adjective

se·​man·​tic si-ˈman-tik How to pronounce semantic (audio)
variants or less commonly semantical
1
: of or relating to meaning in language
2
: of or relating to semantics
semantically adverb

Examples of semantic in a Sentence

the process of semantic development
Recent Examples on the Web By moving beyond simply reporting what is happening to providing insights on what needs to be known, a semantic data layer facilitates more informed decision making and actionable insights. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 And our deep learning classifiers have struggled to understand enough about semantic composition—the parts of an image that give it a particular meaning—and context to make those calls successfully. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 30 Jan. 2024 Complex semantic reasoning is hard to learn from robot data alone. Sergey Levine, IEEE Spectrum, 9 Jan. 2024 FTDs include frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Pick’s disease, progressive aphasia and semantic dementia. Lauren J. Mapp, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Nov. 2023 For example, semantic feature analysis focuses on strengthening the semantic relationships between words. The Conversation, Scientific American, 15 Nov. 2023 However, the biggest differences seemed to occur in a brain region called the middle temporal gyrus, which is involved in processing semantic memory and language. Popular Science, 12 Oct. 2023 The semantic distinction is not just academic: With the carnage piquing emotions in the Middle East and beyond, new questions about century-old arguments are focusing attention on what assaults on civilians achieve for militant groups. Marc Fisher, Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2023 One was semantic, a form of knowing: that George Washington was the first president of the United States, that cats look different than dogs. Michael S. Rosenwald, Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'semantic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Greek sēmantikós "(of sounds) conveying meaning, significant, (of a circumstance) indicative," from sēmantós, verbal adjective of sēmaínein "to indicate, point out, signify, make a signal, give a sign, (in middle voice) mark, identify" (verbal derivative from the base of sēmat-, sêma "distinguishing mark, sign, token, signal, omen, tomb" and sēmeîon "marking, sign, token, signal") + -ikos -ic entry 1; sēm- in sêma and sēmeîon of uncertain origin

Note: The base sēm-, Doric sām- has been compared with Sanskrit dhyāma "thought" (attested only in lexica) and dhyā́yati "s/he thinks, contemplates." Greek sêma would then be the outcome of Indo-European *dhi̯eh2-mn̥-. The meanings "sign" and "thought" are too far apart, however, to support such an etymology. The derivative sēmeîon is peculiar in that -mat- is a suffix and would not ordinarily be split apart in order to add another suffix. A comparable formation is mnêma "reminder, record, memorial" and the near-synonymous mnēmeîon, though in this case the ulterior etymology is clear.

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of semantic was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near semantic

Cite this Entry

“Semantic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/semantic. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

semantic

adjective
se·​man·​tic si-ˈmant-ik How to pronounce semantic (audio)
1
: of or relating to meaning in language
2
: of or relating to semantics
semantically adverb

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