Houjun Liu


sense is the meaning of the word.


synonymy—using synonyms as a proxy for word meaning.

But! There are probably no examples of perfect synonymy: two synonyms have slightly different sense (“my big sister” != “my large sister”)

word relatedness

not synonyms, but closeness in utility or semantic frame:

  • coffee + tea — similar
  • coffee + cup — related, but not similar

semantic field

words that relate by covering a similar semantic domain:

e.g.: hospital - surgeon, scapel, nurse


antonyms can be binaries at opposite ends of a related semantic field

affective meaning

word meaning that relate to the affect, emotion, etc. of the speaker which doesn’t relate to literal meaning (replica vs. knockoff)

  • valence: pleasantness of stimulus
  • arousal: intensity of the emotion provoked by stimulus
  • dominance: degree of control exerted by the stimulus

principle of contrast

“a difference in form results in a difference in meaning”