se·​man·​tic | \ si-ˈman-tik How to pronounce semantic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly semantical \ si-​ˈman-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce semantical (audio) \

Definition of semantic

1 : of or relating to meaning in language
2 : of or relating to semantics

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Other Words from semantic

semantically \ si-​ˈman-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce semantically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of semantic in a Sentence

the process of semantic development

Recent Examples on the Web

The reasons for their reluctance, in part, were semantic. Peg Tyre,, "How to survive in an AI world," 13 June 2019 In the end, a case that sparked a national reckoning over race and justice will reach its conclusion in a largely semantic inquiry about police takedown tactics. Wesley Lowery, Washington Post, "‘I can’t breathe.’ Five years after Eric Garner died in struggle with New York police, resolution still elusive.," 13 June 2019 Λαων, λ αε: etymology obscure, semantic field dubious. Anne Carson, Harper's magazine, "From a manuscript in progress. Carson’s collection of performance pieces," 10 June 2019 The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the plaintiffs, holding that a jury might conclude that the FDA rejected Merck’s proposed label warning because of a semantic disagreement. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Fighting a Tort Plague," 6 Jan. 2019 That might sound like a narrow semantic debate, but the difference is fundamental. Dylan Scott, Vox, "There’s election fraud in North Carolina. That’s not the same thing as voter fraud.," 11 Dec. 2018 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for semantic

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for semantic

The first known use of semantic was in 1890

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English Language Learners Definition of semantic

: of or relating to the meanings of words and phrases
: of or relating to semantics

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More from Merriam-Webster on semantic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with semantic

Spanish Central: Translation of semantic

Nglish: Translation of semantic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of semantic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on semantic

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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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