When a lexicographer is forming a definition how do they make sure they are not overly influenced by the examples they refer to when forming their definitions.

how do they properly escape the narrative of the example, that might imply association or properties that should not be part of the definition but find their way in?

I have just been calling it 'not properly escape the context' upon which a definition is based upon.

Is there a technical term for this?


  • 1
    They just have to consider enough examples to ensure their definitions get at the real meaning of the lexeme and not its metaphorical extensions. And they then test their definitions on other native speakers.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 17 at 23:11
  • @curiousdannii am not sure you mean to but you are kind of implying that your method is infallible, just look at it enough and it will never make this mistake.
    – Knotwood V
    Jan 17 at 23:19
  • No, not infallible, more iterative. Try working on a definition, see if it fits all the examples you can think of, try it out with more people, and then work on it more. Once everyone you know is satisfied, publish it in a book, and then see what the community thinks. And start working on the second edition.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 17 at 23:25
  • @curiousdannii fine but what about the second question? , is there a term for 'not properly escape the context'?
    – Knotwood V
    Jan 17 at 23:34
  • I'm not fully sure what you mean. But I think it sounds like distinguishing between sense/denotation/connotation or between intension/extension.
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 18 at 0:17

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