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[si-man-tiks] /sɪˈmæn tɪks/
noun, (used with a singular verb)
  1. the study of meaning.
  2. the study of linguistic development by classifying and examining changes in meaning and form.
Also called significs. the branch of semiotics dealing with the relations between signs and what they denote.
the meaning, or an interpretation of the meaning, of a word, sign, sentence, etc.:
Let's not argue about semantics.
Origin of semantics
First recorded in 1895-1900; See origin at semantic, -ics
Related forms
[si-man-tuh-sist] /sɪˈmæn tə sɪst/ (Show IPA),
[see-man-tish-uh n] /ˌsi mænˈtɪʃ ən/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for semantics


noun (functioning as sing)
the branch of linguistics that deals with the study of meaning, changes in meaning, and the principles that govern the relationship between sentences or words and their meanings
the study of the relationships between signs and symbols and what they represent
  1. the study of interpretations of a formal theory
  2. the study of the relationship between the structure of a theory and its subject matter
  3. (of a formal theory) the principles that determine the truth or falsehood of sentences within the theory, and the references of its terms
Derived Forms
semanticist, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for semantics

"science of meaning in language," 1893, from French sémantique (1883); see semantic (also see -ics). Replaced semasiology (1847), from German Semasiologie (1829), from Greek semasia "signification, meaning."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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semantics in Medicine

semantics se·man·tics (sĭ-mān'tĭks)

  1. The study or science of meaning in language forms.

  2. The study of the relationships between various signs and symbols and what they represent.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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semantics in Culture

semantics definition

The scientific or philosophical study of the relations of words and their meanings.

Note: Semantics is commonly used to refer to a trivial point or distinction that revolves around mere words rather than significant issues: “To argue whether the medication killed the patient or contributed to her death is to argue over semantics.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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