Say, I want to know what a "dog" is, so I read the definition for dog in the OED. But, of course, it contains a list of words too so I set out to read the definitions for those as well. This forms a directed graph. Was there any research done on this? I presume, for example, you won't need to understand what a "ventriloquist" is just to understand "dog" -- but , for example, is there a list of words that eventually the definition chains of all words reach?

  • Possibly better asked on Linguistics.SE.
    – TimLymington
    Oct 6 '15 at 19:08
  • I suppose someone may have done something like this. However, as you have specified it, there are enormous problems. For example, how will you avoid circularity? Oct 6 '15 at 19:11
  • 1
    Google Wordnet and Framenet.
    – jlawler
    Oct 6 '15 at 19:18
  • it's easy to avoid circularity if you keep a list of words visited
    – chx
    Oct 6 '15 at 19:21
  • 2
    @chx - You haven't thought this through. If you merely stop when you find a previously-visited word, you will end up with a very lopsided tree that is entirely dependent on the order of the definitions and the words contained within them. I suggest it will give you almost zero useful information. Why do you want to do this? What do you hope to gain from it? If you can give a reason then a sensible answer might be possible. Oct 6 '15 at 19:31

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