general semantics

noun
a philosophical approach to language, developed by Alfred Korzybski, exploring the relationship between the form of language and its use and attempting to improve the capacity to express ideas.

Origin:
1930–35

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general semantics
 
n
(functioning as singular) a school of thought, founded by Alfred Korzybski, that stresses the arbitrary nature of language and other symbols and the problems that result from misunderstanding their nature

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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

general semantics

a philosophy of language-meaning that was developed by Alfred Korzybski (1879-1950), a Polish-American scholar, and furthered by S.I. Hayakawa, Wendell Johnson, and others; it is the study of language as a representation of reality. Korzybski's theory was intended to improve the habits of response to environment. Drawing upon such varied disciplines as relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and mathematical logic, Korzybski and his followers sought a scientific, non-Aristotelian basis for clear understanding of the differences between symbol (word) and reality (referent) and the ways in which words themselves can influence (or manipulate) and limit human ability to think.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
He related his treatment and study of stuttering to linguistic theory and to general semantics.
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