Definitional Item

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A Definitional Item is an explicit referencer that denotes a meaning relation between a definiendum (term) and the referent(s) it implies.



    • Noun
      • 1. (semantics) A statement of the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol (dictionary definitions).
      • 2. A statement expressing the essential nature of something.
      • 3. The action or process of defining.
      • 4. The act of defining; determination of the limits.
      • 5. A product of defining.
      • 6. The action or power of describing, explaining, or making definite and clear. Her comic genius is beyond definition.
      • 7. Clarity of visual presentation, distinctness of outline or detail. The definition of a telescope. Improve the definition of an image.
      • 8. Clarity, especially of musical sound in reproduction.
      • 9. Sharp demarcation of outlines or limits. A jacket with distinct waist definition.
      • 10. (bodybuilding) The degree to which individual muscles are distinct on the body.
    • Noun definiens (plural definientia)
      • 1. (semantics) That which defines the definiendum in a definition.

    • QUOTE: Definitions serve a number of purposes, but they almost always aim at the general purpose of facilitating understanding.
      • 1. Stipulative definitions assign a meaning to a word: “We will call those data that help predict the economy's future 'leading indicators.'"
      • 2. Explanatory definitions illustrate the implications of an already known but difficult concept: "Every use of the word 'beauty' implies some suitability to a purpose."
      • 3. Precising definitions narrow down the meaning of a potentially unclear term: "By 'walking' we will specifically mean 'moving under one's own power while keeping at least one foot on the ground.'"
      • 4. Persuasive definitions aim at influencing their audience: "That word 'casualties' refers to our sons and daughters killed in battle."
    • QUOTE: Different structures of definitions can achieve these purposes.
      • 1. One may define by example, naming representative members of a group: "Ants are typical insects."
      • 2. One may define by synonym, substituting a word or phrase with the same meaning: "'Ophidophobia' is the fear of snakes."
      • 3. One may define by analysis: "Precipitation is water that reaches the earth's surface from the atmosphere as the result of meteorological causes."