Definition vs. Meaning: What's the Difference?
"Definition" is a precise statement explaining a word or phrase, while "Meaning" is the significance or interpretation of a word, symbol, or action.
"Definition" is all about precision and clarity. It offers a clear and exact description of a word, ensuring that there's little room for ambiguity. When we look up a word in the dictionary, what we find is its definition. The definition aims to encapsulate the essence of a word in a manner that provides the reader with a clear understanding. For instance, when one seeks the definition of the word "apple," they would expect to find something along the lines of "a round fruit from an apple tree."
"Meaning," on the other hand, dives deeper into interpretation and significance. While a word can have a definition, its meaning might change based on context, culture, or individual perception. The meaning of a word encapsulates its inherent value, implications, and the emotions it might elicit. For instance, the word "home" might be defined as "a place where one lives," but its meaning could encompass feelings of comfort, safety, and belonging.
Sometimes the distinction between "definition" and "meaning" can blur, especially when the definition of a word carries emotional weight. However, it's crucial to understand that while every word has a definition, its meaning might vary depending on various factors. An artist, for instance, might interpret the meaning of colors in their artwork differently than someone else.
Furthermore, "definition" generally remains constant for a given word in a particular language at a specific point in time. In contrast, "meaning" can be fluid, changing with evolving cultural norms, individual perspectives, and situational contexts.
In summation, while "definition" offers a clear-cut explanation of a word, "meaning" delves into the deeper layers of interpretation, significance, and emotional resonance.
Interpretation or significance
"The dictionary provides the definition."
"The word has different meanings in various cultures."
Generally constant for a word in a language at a specific time
Can be fluid and vary based on context and perspective
Clarity and exactness
Significance, implications, and emotional resonance
Subjective or contextual interpretation
Definition and Meaning Definitions
A precise explanation of a word or phrase
The definition of 'aquatic' pertains to water.
The end, purpose, or significance of something
What's the meaning of this sudden change?
The action of defining something
The committee's task was the definition of new guidelines.
The significance or interpretation of a word or action
The meaning of her gesture was clear to everyone.
The degree of distinctness in an image or sound
The television has high definition clarity.
The thing or idea that a word or expression stands for
The word dove has a dual meaning – a bird and a symbol of peace.
A statement expressing the essential nature of something
His definition of success is personal happiness.
The denotation, referent, or idea associated with a word or phrase
How many meanings does the word "dog" have?.
A statement of the meaning of a word, phrase, or term, as in a dictionary entry.
Something that is conveyed or intended, especially by language; sense or significance
The writer's meaning was obscured by convoluted prose.
A statement or description of the fundamental character or scope of something
"[The panel] calls for a clearer definition of the status of people captured in American military operations" (Economist).
An interpreted goal, intent, or end
"The central meaning of his pontificate is to restore papal authority" (Conor Cruise O'Brien).
The act or process of stating a precise meaning or significance; formulation of a meaning
The definition of terms is essential to any successful scholarly study.
A sense of importance or purpose
When he became a teacher, he felt that his life had meaning.
The state of being clearly outlined
"With the drizzle, the trees in the little clearing had lost definition" (Anthony Hyde).
Disposed or intended in a specified manner. Often used in combination
A well-meaning fellow.
The level of detail in a recording, production, or digital encoding of an image or sound.
Full of meaning; expressive
Gave me a meaning look.
A statement of the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol (dictionary definitions).
Your definition of "elephant" needs to be more precise than "a big animal with large ears".
(of words, expressions or symbols)
A clear instance conforming to the dictionary or textbook definition.
The denotation, referent, or idea connected with a word, expression, or symbol.
A statement expressing the essential nature of something; formulation
The connotation associated with a word, expression, or symbol.
The action or process of defining.
The purpose, value, or significance (of something) beyond the fact of that thing's existence.
The meaning of life
The number of persons attending the vigil had a lot of meaning to the families.
The act of defining; determination of the limits.
(of a person's actions) Intention.
A product of defining.
Present participle of mean
The action or power of describing, explaining, or making definite and clear.
Her comic genius is beyond definition.
Having a (specified) intention.
Clarity of visual presentation, distinctness of outline or detail.
The definition of a telescope.
Improve the definition of an image.
Expressing some intention or significance; meaningful.
Clarity, especially of musical sound in reproduction.
That which is meant or intended; intent; purpose; aim; object; as, a mischievous meaning was apparent.
If there be any good meaning towards you.
Sharp demarcation of outlines or limits.
A jacket with distinct waist definition.
That which is signified, whether by act lanquage; signification; sense; import; as, the meaning of a hint.
(bodybuilding) The degree to which individual muscles are distinct on the body.
Sense; power of thinking.
(programming) A statement which provides a previous declaration with a value or body of a subroutine (in the case of function).
The message that is intended or expressed or signified;
What is the meaning of this sentence
The significance of a red traffic light
The signification of Chinese characters
The import of his announcement was ambigtuous
(mathematics) A statement that establishes the referent of a term or notation.
The idea that is intended;
What is the meaning of this proverb?
The act of defining; determination of the limits; as, a telescope accurate in definition.
Rich in significance or implication;
A meaning look
Pregnant with meaning
Act of ascertaining and explaining the signification; a description of a thing by its properties; an explanation of the meaning of a word or term; as, the definition of "circle;" the definition of "wit;" an exact definition; a loose definition.
Definition being nothing but making another understand by words what the term defined stands for.
The purpose or importance of something
Life's meaning varies for each individual.
An underlying or implied significance
He caught the hidden meaning in her words.
An exact enunciation of the constituents which make up the logical essence.
Distinctness or clearness, as of an image formed by an optical instrument; precision in detail.
A concise explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase or symbol
Clarity of outline;
Exercise had give his muscles superior definition
A description of the features and limits of something
The job's definition includes various responsibilities.
Can the meaning of a word change over time?
Yes, cultural shifts and evolving contexts can alter a word's meaning.
Where can I find the official definition of a word?
Dictionaries provide standardized definitions for words.
Does the meaning of a word always align with its definition?
Not always; meaning can be influenced by context and individual interpretation.
Are definitions always objective?
Definitions aim to be objective, but language evolution can introduce nuances.
Can a word's meaning be subjective?
Yes, individuals can interpret words based on personal experiences and beliefs.
Can emotions impact the meaning we derive?
Certainly, emotions can deeply influence our interpretation of words or actions.
Why is it important to know a word's definition?
Knowing a word's definition ensures clear communication and understanding.
Can context change a word's meaning?
Absolutely, context plays a crucial role in determining a word's meaning in a given situation.
Are all words easily definable?
Most words have clear definitions, but some abstract concepts can be challenging to define precisely.
Can a word have multiple definitions?
Yes, some words have several definitions based on different contexts.
Can definitions change over time?
Yes, as language evolves, definitions can be updated or expanded.
Is the definition more about the language structure?
Yes, definitions focus on language clarity and precision.
Can a single word have a universal definition?
While definitions aim for standardization, nuances might exist across different languages or cultures.
Can personal experiences influence meaning?
Absolutely, personal experiences often shape our interpretation of words.
Is the definition of technical terms constant across fields?
Not always; a term's definition can vary based on its field of use.
Can art have multiple meanings?
Yes, art is open to interpretation and can hold different meanings for different viewers.
Can two people have different meanings for the same word?
Yes, personal experiences and contexts can lead to varied interpretations.
Is meaning tied to cultural or societal values?
Often, societal and cultural norms can shape the meaning of words or symbols.
Why is meaning important in communication?
Meaning ensures the intended message is conveyed and understood correctly.
Is meaning more about personal resonance?
Often, personal resonance plays a significant role in determining a word's meaning for an individual.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.