follow Dictionary.com

Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?

general semantics

noun
1.
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
1930-1935
1930-35
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for general-semantics

general semantics

noun
1.
(functioning as sing) 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
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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for general-semantics

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.

Learn more about general semantics with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for general semantics

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for general

8
11
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with general-semantics