From definiens - Wiktionary:

(semantics) The word or phrase that defines the definiendum in a definition.
In the defining statement “A lake is a large, landlocked, naturally occurring stretch of water”, “large, landlocked, naturally occurring stretch of water” is the definiens.

But what is the term to describe “large", "landlocked", "naturally", etc? Definiens also? All I know that if we have a definition "An elephant is an animal", then animal is a hypernym of elephant.

Also: Definition - Wikipedia

  • You're missing a word or two in the title... Also I'd recommend using the word "term" to make it less confusing.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 14:40
  • is this better?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 14:52
  • I think it's good now - a term is a sub category of words, and neither the word being defined or those used in its definition have to be terms, in the sense of linguistic jargon.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 14:54
  • 1
    Those are all part of the definiens, yes. Depending on what analysis you're doing, you could also call them qualifiers of "stretch of water" or adjective phrases Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 5:01

1 Answer 1


I think keyword can be used if the context is clear that it doesn't refer to the linguistic sense.

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