The idea of grasping word meanings conceptually is something new to the field of linguistics. The endless semantic circles pursued by Korzybski and company (see Data Series 1, THE ANATOMY OF THOUGHT1) never really led to the realization that a word and its meanings are embodied in the basic concept or idea symbolized by that word.
That conceptualization of meanings is foreign to dictionary writers and “experts” is evidenced by the fact that definitions are so subject to alter-is and change with the passage of time.
For example, modern definitions of the word “understand” are found to be largely inadequate. A really full and meaningful definition of it could only be found in a first edition of Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms, 1942:
“Understand. To have a clear and true idea or conception, or full and exact knowledge, of something. In general it may be said that understand refers to the result of a mental process or processes (a clear and exact idea or notion, or full knowledge). Understand implies the power to receive and register a clear and true impression.”2, 3
- See Data Series 1R, re semantics. Management Series Volume 1, pp. 3-9. PDF format. ↩
- Cf. Hubbard’s definition: Understanding. ↩
- Hubbard, L. R. (1974, 7 September). Superliteracy and the Cleared Word. The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology (1976 ed., Vol. VIII, pp. 314-317). Los Angeles: Church of Scientology of California. ↩