bjm10 wrote:
>On Fri, 7 Sep 2001, Andreas Johansson wrote:
> > This would seem to imply that technical (and often original) meanings of
> > words that're used in another sense by the general public aren't true.
>I could go on.  The meanings of words can change, and insisting upon an
>obsolete and/or idiosyncratic meaning is its own punishment.

I fail to see the relevance of this. All the examples I gave are still
frequently used in their technical meanings.

BTW, what did "girl" mean earlier?
> > IMHO, if there is a "true" meaning of a word it is whatever the
> > speaker/writer intends it to mean - quite independently from what
> > various people associate with it.
>    "There's glory for you!"
>    "I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
>    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell
>you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
>    "But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,' " Alice
>    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
>"it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
>    "The question is, " said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so
>many different things."
>    "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty. "which is to be master--that's

Well, I've never argued against the point that if you wish to be understood,
you better use words to mean what your listener/reader thinks they mean (in
that context). Of course, this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with
what the general public think they mean. Alternatively, you'll have to
explain what you mean with a particular word (usually this invloves using
other words, words that you must trust to mean the same to you and your
listener/reader ...).

Also, since you can never be totally sure what about what somebody wishes to
communicate, whether by words or other means, the "true" meaning of a word
as per my definition above has little or no practical use.


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