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Meaning Relations

1. Synonymy is a meaning relation which involves two or more expression having the same interpretation. Synonymy will always mean one of two or more words in the English language which have the same or very nearly the same essential meaning.
Synonym: words which have the same meaning.

Three kinds of synonymy

  • True synonymy is a meaning relation which involves two or more sentences having the same exact meaning.

e.g.

"Uncle is a true synonymy of the brother of one’s father or mother, or the husband of one’s aunt."


  • Close synonymy is a meaning relation which involves two or more expressions of which the interpretation is not entirely the same but very close.

e.g. war, battle, combat, fight, struggle.

  • Partial synonymy is a meaning relation in which the meaning or interpretation of one lexicon only a part of the meaning of the other.

e.g. hen is partial meaning of chicken.

2. Antonymy: a meaning relation which involves two or more lexicons having opposite interpretations/ meanings.

Four kinds of antonymy


  • True antonymy: the meaning relation which involves two or more lexicons having true opposite meaning.
e.g. - male vs. female
      - true vs. false
  • Reciprocal antonymy: the meaning relation which involves two or more lexicons having reciprocal opposite meaning. Usually, it is in the form of actions.
e.g. - close vs. open
       - sleep vs. awake
  • Gradual antonymy: the meaning relation which involves two or more lexicons having gradual opposite meaning.
e.g. - uninjured- barely injured –injured- badly wounded- died
      - big – medium – small
  • One- to- many antonymy: the meaning relation in which one lexicons has many opposite meanings.

e.g. . sweet vs. bitter
                      salty
                      sour
                      hot
                      etc.
3. Hyponymy: a relationship between two words, in which the meaning of one of the words includes the meaning of the other words
e.g. ‘Eagle’, ‘swallow’, ‘parrot’, etc. are hyponyms of the super ordinate ‘bird’

4. Ambiguity: a meaning relation which involve only one expression having more than one interpretation.


  • Lexical ambiguity arises when context is insufficient to determine the sense of a single word that has more than one meaning.
e.g. can, bank, duck etc.
  • Syntactic ambiguity arises when a sentence can be parsed in more than one way.
e.g. The chicken is ready to eat

5. Polysemy is a word or phrase with multiple, related meanings
e.g.

The house is at the foot of the mountains
One of his shoes felt too tight for his foot
'Foot' here refers to the bottom part of the mountains in the first sentence and the bottom part of the leg in the second.
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4 comments:

  1. Sir....Do you mind explaining about types of meaning....It will help your students and all the visitors who have curiosity to study this stuff.

    ReplyDelete

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