The Meaning of Semantics: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever studied semantics? Do you know the meaning of semantics? This article will define numerous types of semantics and how to use them.

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Have you ever taken a class on semantics? This article will define all of the types of semantics. Then,we will teach you how to use the word semantics in a sentence, provide translations of semantics, and cover synonyms of the word semantics. Read on to learn all about semantics!

What Does Semantics Mean?

According to Britannica, semantics is the scientific study of the relationship between language and meaning. This branch of linguistics deals with syntax, grammar, semiotics, pragmatics, semasiology, and more! Someone who studies semantics is called a semanticist, and the pronunciation of semantics is sɪˈmæntɪks.

As a concept, semantics might involve deconstructing words, signals, and sentence structures to parse out their meanings. This influences both reading comprehension and speech comprehension. We all use semantics every day in our daily life when we participate in communication and understanding, often without realizing it.

Semantics does not only have to deal with the study of the meaning of words but can also refer to programming languages. There are several types of semantics that you might see in daily life. Your Dictionary defines these for us below.

Formal Semantics

Formal semantics is a technique in which you analyze the relationship between language and truth or reality using logic, math, and philosophy. You can think of formal semantics as cause and effect relationships or anything that might follow an “if, then” question

Lexical Semantics

Lexical semantics is all about context, deconstructing different words and phrases’ meanings depending on their subjects. This form of semantics means that some words mean different things in different contexts or act as different parts of speech. 

If you’re studying lexical semantics, you might study idioms, phrases, adjectives, verbs, nouns, prefixes, suffixes, and etymology. 

Conceptual Semantics

Conceptual semantics focuses on basic word forms outside of the context of peoples’ thoughts and feelings. This type of semantics deals with connotation and denotation. Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word, while connotation refers to the emotional connection a person might feel with a word. 

Situational Semantics

Situational semantics deals with how words can have different meanings based on a situation. Something might be a perfectly nice word or compliment, but if it is said in the wrong context, it can offend someone or make someone feel hurt. 

Overall, many forms of semantics deal with how we interact with language and how language works in context. 

How Can You Use Semantics in a Sentence?

You might see the word semantics in discussions about academia, but the use of semantics is not unheard of in casual language. As you read the examples below, see if you can determine if the word semantics are formal or casual. 

Example #1: The Semantics of Chores

The young child assured his mother that his incomplete chores were a question of semantics. She asked him if he could wash the dishes and take out the trash, not if he would. She was annoyed that he used the meanings of her words against her.

Example #2: College Semantics

In our introduction to semantics class, we learned all about formal semantics, lexical semantics, and conceptual semantics. It truly blew my mind to learn all about how words’ meanings can change depending on context. 

What Is the Etymology of Semantics?

Dictionary states that semantics has been in the English language since the late 1800s. This term comes from the Greek sēmantikós, which means “having meaning.” This, in turn, stems from semantics meaning marked and semanein, a verb meaning to show or mark. 

What Are Translations of Semantics?

People can study the semantics of any language, not just English! If you are interested in researching semantics in other languages, knowing how to say the word semantics in said language can be very useful. 

Take a look at this list of translations of the word semantics from Nice Translator and notice how many of these words look and sound similar! If words in different languages look and sound alike — words known as cognates — this often points to having the same root or language of origin. 

  • Marathi: शब्दार्थ
  • Telugu: సెమాంటిక్స్
  • Danish: semantik
  • Icelandic: merkingarfræði
  • Swahili: semantiki
  • Malay: semantik
  • Basque: semantika
  • Thai: ความหมาย
  • Spanish: semántica
  • Czech: sémantika
  • Swedish: semantik
  • Gujarati: અર્થશાસ્ત્ર
  • Croatian: semantika
  • Finnish: semantiikka
  • Ukrainian: семантика
  • Welsh: semanteg
  • Hindi: अर्थ विज्ञान
  • Greek: σημασιολογία
  • Norwegian: Semantikk
  • Malayalam: ദാതാപസ്
  • Filipino: Semantika
  • Serbian: семантика
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 語義
  • Amharic: Seletics
  • Romanian: semantică
  • Tamil: சொற்பொருள்
  • Urdu: Semantics
  • Hungarian: szemantika
  • Catalan: semàntica
  • Portuguese (Portugal): semântica
  • Portuguese (Brazil): semântica
  • Dutch: semantiek
  • Latvian: semantika
  • Japanese: セマンティクス
  • Bulgarian: семантика
  • Turkish: semantik
  • Chinese (PRC): 语义
  • French: sémantique
  • Polish: semantyka
  • Lithuanian: semantika
  • Russian: семантика
  • Kannada: ಶಬ್ದಾರ್ಥ
  • German: Semantik
  • Slovenian: semantika
  • Estonian: semantika
  • Slovak: sémantika
  • Vietnamese: ngữ nghĩa
  • Hebrew: סֵמַנטִיקָה
  • Indonesian: semantik
  • Bengali: শব্দার্থবিজ্ঞান
  • Italian: semantica
  • Arabic: دلالات
  • Korean: 의미론

What Are Synonyms of Semantics?

Semantics is a fairly formal word, and there are several synonyms from Power Thesaurus that you can use in its place. If you are in a situation where the word semantics might be too formal or academic, you can opt for one of these synonyms instead. 

How many of these synonyms of semantics are you familiar with?

  • connotation
  • definition
  • deictic
  • denotation
  • dialectology
  • etymology
  • exegetics
  • explanation
  • explication
  • exposition
  • glossology
  • grammar
  • interpretation
  • linguistics
  • meaning
  • morphology
  • parole
  • phonology
  • pragmatics
  • semantic
  • semantically
  • semasiology
  • semiology
  • semiotics
  • sense
  • symbolism
  • syntactics
  • syntax


The definition of semantics is a branch of semiotics that studies the relationship between language and meaning. There are several branches of semantics, including formal semantics, lexical semantics, conceptual semantics, and situational semantics. 

Practicing semantics involves deconstructing different signals, words, and sentence structures to parse out a meaning based on context.


  1. Semantics synonyms – 109 Words and Phrases for Semantics | Power Thesaurus
  2. Examples of Semantics: Meaning & Types | Your Dictionary  
  3. semantics | Definition & Theories | Britannica
  4. Semantics Definition & Meaning |  
  5. Semantics | Nice Translator