se·​man·​tics | \si-ˈman-tiks \

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 semiotics dealing with the relations between signs and what they refer to and including theories of denotation, extension, naming, and truth

3a : 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 in a Sentence

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 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

First Known Use of semantics

1874, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for semantics

see semantic

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The first known use of semantics was in 1874

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More Definitions for semantics

semantics

noun

English Language Learners Definition of semantics

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

: the meanings of words and phrases in a particular context

se·​man·​tics | \si-ˈmant-iks \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on semantics

Spanish Central: Translation of semantics

Nglish: Translation of semantics for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about semantics

Comments on semantics

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