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Semantics is basically about the meanings words have.

Key terms:

Denotation - the dictionary definition

Connotation - meanings we associate with a word: spinster connotes old/ugly/miserable

Collocation - words which are strongly associated or often found together: vast majority;

Antonym - opposite: day/night

Synonym - same/similar meaning: bright/clever/smart

Euphemism - putting something in a ‘nicer’ way, covering up the truth: passed away, sleeping with

Idiom - everyday metaphor, not literally true but understood by most/all within a cultural context: raining cats and dogs, dressed to the nines

Simile - comparing two things using “like” or “as”

Metaphor - comparison without “like” or “as”, non-literal phrase

Hyperbole - exaggeration: I’ve told you a thousand times!

Oxymoron - contradictory or opposing terms put together: brilliant darkness

Metonym - using a part of something, or something associated with it to stand in for it: the crown (meaning monarch) skirt (meaning girl/woman)

Semantic field - a group of words related by meaning.  For example, in the field of furniture we have things like: chair, table, lamp, sofa etc etc.  In this example field, the word furniture is the hypernym and chair etc are the hyponyms.  In other words, the hypernym is the head word/title and the hyponyms are the lower terms.  A hyponymic list is (unsurprisingly) a list of hyponyms: “He ate hungrily.  Meat, potatoes, vegetables all were shovelled...”

See the next page (semantics 2) for uses of semantic analysis

Semantics