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thelowend April 5th, 2016 5:32pm

Seen as a comment on SoH - definitions are subjective. Are the meanings of words as defined in a dictionary subjective?

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TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
04/05/16 9:00 pm



htcbump Florida
04/05/16 9:54 pm

Words in the dictionary are based on the lexicon, that is, usage. It normally takes a long time. Exception: SCOTUS

FacePalm That Trick Never Works
04/05/16 6:02 pm

you are talking about denotation vs connotation.

Denotation = dictionary definition
Connotation = how it is used, its implied meaning.

So while there may be little difference between two words in the dictionary, your choice of word could have a very different impact on the listener.

Praetorianus Fair enough.
04/05/16 5:57 pm

Depends on the dictionary. There are two types: a descriptive dictionary objectively describes usage as is, a prescriptive one tries to set norms how it should be used and is subjective by resisting actual change in meaning and grammar.

TiltonAllStarz Outside Ur Comfort Zone
04/05/16 2:22 pm

Words mean what they are.

Blue talk car bubble air swamp tank.
(Since I decided to change the meaning of those words I'll explain)

TiltonAllStarz Outside Ur Comfort Zone
04/05/16 2:27 pm

Blue: Words
Talk: Have
Car: Definitions
Bubble: Otherwise
Air: It's
Swamp: Just
Tank: Grunts

thelowend imitation is flattery
04/05/16 5:28 pm

see that's what I'm inclined to think too. critic's explanation below helped me some - like phrases and idioms or vernacular terms. but if someone says "physical activity" - I'm thinking the definition of "physical activity" not a variation of what it means to be physical...

that was the example. I don't know. I don't understand this crazy world anymore...ha

TiltonAllStarz Outside Ur Comfort Zone
04/09/16 7:22 am

No, you understand it just fine.

Some intellectual said something stupid and tried to dance out of it by redefining the words used, other intellectuals bought it and now do it.

04/05/16 11:30 am

Definitions are complex, context-dependent, and change over time, but language depends upon a degree of agreement between communicators. Language use creates an objective standard of meanings for different words. If I claim that the word "cat" in English refers to an animal that speaks and walks on two legs, I am objectively wrong. If I actually believe this false idea, I am not just someone with an unusual opinion.

04/05/16 11:01 am

Have you heard of Semantics?

thelowend imitation is flattery
04/05/16 11:38 am

I've heard of the dictionary - I'm talking referencing a word in a dictionary.

I just find it hard to debate a definition of a word as defined by just anyone. obviously cultural trends and word usage change over time, but right now in this point and time...I just can't imagine arguing the definition of a word...?

04/05/16 11:46 am

There are definitions of words and common use of words. There are words that have definitions separate from the one in the dictionary because of how it is used when spoken. There are also words that shift meaning depending on context or subject matter. You may wish for linguistics to be simple and clear cut, but it is not.

04/05/16 11:56 am

Also, Semantics is the study of what you are asking about.
: the study of the meanings of words and phrases in language
: the meanings of words and phrases in a particular context
:the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. There are a number of branches and subbranches of semantics, including formal semantics, which studies the logical aspects of meaning, such as sense, reference, implication, and logical form, lexical semantics, which studies word meanings and word relations, and conceptual semantics, which studies the cognitive structure of meaning.

thelowend imitation is flattery
04/05/16 2:11 pm

wow. yeah - definitely not an expert in all this. thank you that clarifies things!

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
04/05/16 9:05 pm

Very good summary! It should clear up much of the confusion. 😃

RJ1969 SoCal
04/05/16 10:53 am

This happens more often than not. They make up their own werdz.

fredd TrumpLand
04/05/16 10:50 am

Yes. That's the nature of the English language. There are some words which have come to mean the opposite of their original meaning.

Recently, those damn millennials have screwed up the word "literally". Now some dictionaries have acknowledged that "literally" is used to indicate something figuratively. That's fucked up.

TomLaney1 Jesus is Lord
04/05/16 9:07 pm

Well, I would probably use a different phrase to describe it, but I absolutely concur. It's one of my pet peeves.