Lexical definition

Lexical definition

Ask a question about 'Lexical definition'
Start a new discussion about 'Lexical definition'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The lexical definition of a term, also known as the dictionary
A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically, with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon...

 definition, is the meaning of the term in common usage. As its other name implies, this is the sort of definition
A definition is a passage that explains the meaning of a term , or a type of thing. The term to be defined is the definiendum. A term may have many different senses or meanings...

 one is likely to find in the dictionary. A lexical definition is usually the type expected from a request for definition, and it is generally expected that such a definition will be stated as simply as possible in order to convey information to the widest audience.

Note that a lexical definition is descriptive, reporting actual usage within speakers of a language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

, and changes with changing usage of the term, rather than prescriptive, which would be to stick with a version regarded as "correct" regardless of drift in accepted meaning. They tend to be inclusive, attempting to capture everything the term is used to refer to, and as such are often too vague for many purposes.

When the breadth or vagueness of a lexical definition is unacceptable, a precising definition
Precising definition
A precising definition is a definition that extends the lexical definition of a term for a specific purpose by including additional criteria that narrow down the set of things meeting the definition....

 or a stipulative definition
Stipulative definition
A stipulative definition is a type of definition in which a new or currently-existing term is given a specific meaning for the purposes of argument or discussion in a given context. When the term already exists, this definition may, but does not necessarily, contradict the dictionary definition of...

 is often used.

Words can be classified as lexical or nonlexical. Lexical words are those that have independent meaning.
e.g. Noun (N)
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

, verb (V)
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

, adjective (A)
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

 , adverb (Adv)
An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

, preposition (P)