Differences Between Definition and Meaning

When we talk about words, it is common to also talk about definitions and their meanings, but although many people believe that definition and meaning refer to the same thing, that is, they are synonyms; the truth is that there are differences between one and the other. Differences Between Definition and Meaning

Today we are going to show you what is the difference between meaning and definition.

DEFINITION  Differences Between Definition and Meaning

Defining consists of distinguishing and delimiting a term to differentiate it from another. The definition is the formal declaration of the meaning or meaning of a word, phrase, language as found in dictionaries.

Dictionary definitions are intended to provide a general idea about a term or concept. They do not seek to give a “universal meaning” to words, since that is something subjective that corresponds to each individual.

The definition of the terms indicates the critical and analytical aspects of the words.

An example definition:

Infula: ornament that some priests and kings wore on their heads. Qf2. Vanity.


Meaning is what can be inferred from a word. It is something that is assigned individually to the terms. A mental value that we give to things.

A word can have only one definition, yet have hundreds of meanings; since the latter depend on each person.

In the construction of meanings, both the sender and the receiver play a very important role; since one thing is what a person wants to say and another what the receiver understands.

For example, the word “ok” has its definition; but used in a sentence it can mean many things or simply mean nothing. It can be used to imply that a message has been received, also to end a useless discussion, also as a way to indicate that everything is fine …

On the other hand, the meaning of a word in slang and general usage can differ greatly from its definition in dictionaries. Some definitions of terms may be out of date when used in the current context.

For example, the terms “nerd” and geek “ are defined as words that are used in a pejorative or derogatory sense; however, it is now common for friends to say this to each other. In fact, sometimes you even proudly call yourself a “nerd” or a “geek”; therefore, the meaning of these words has changed.

Key differences between definition and meaning

  • The definition is a critical delimitation that is made to differentiate one term from another, while the meaning is a subjective value that we mentally give to the terms or words.
  • A word can have many meanings, but definitions are often limited.
  • The meaning has to do with the emotional, while the definition has to do with the analytical and structural.
  • The definition is rigid and inflexible, while the meaning is characterized by its flexibility.

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