In lexical semantics, a lot of meaning in individual words, the concept behind the utterance, is captured in ontological relations: is-like for synonymy, is-a for a hypernym hierarchy. But this doesn't capture a lot of the incidental nuances. Simply relating one word to another doesn't include all the non-word connotations; not every concept has a single word to label it.
In analogy with phonology, the area of generative semantics sometimes uses semantic features, often binary, to label lexical items. For example, one might label 'bucket' and 'pail' as follows: - 'bucket' - [+ receptacle] [+ wide open top] [+ big] [+ (opt) metal] - 'pail' - [+ receptacle] [+ wide open top] [- big] [+ (opt) milk] [+ (opt) toy]
(and one can see how a hypernym relation can be extracted from analyzing the containment of features)
Most dictionaries attempt some connections, usually synonyms and antonyms. But I haven't seen anything that is binary, except maybe if the word is very distinctive, a better dictionary might label the subculture it is specific too ('chemistry', 'vulgar', 'archaic').
Are there any published dictionaries, print or online, that attempt to do a binary feature analysis beyond toy examples? Assuming none, is this method simply an old academic trend that dies out long ago out of fashion or out of impracticality?