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A DefinedMeaning (DM) is a concept having a Definition in at least one Language, and corresponding Expression(s) which represent that concept in at least one Language. In the database, a DM is only a number.

For example, the DM 6328 has the English definition "To lose memory of something." and the corresponding English expression "forget".

Creating the DefinedMeaning[edit]

A DefinedMeaning (DM) takes an Expression as a starting point. A DM is automatically created when an Expression in one language is associated with a definition (often in the same language, but can be also a Latin expression with an English definition or any other combination). A DefinedMeaning can be started from any Language.

Translation of Definition[edit]

The initial definition that is given when creating the DM can be translated in other languages. Such translation should be as literal as possible to minimize semantic drift.

It is of course possible to improve the definition at a later stage. The definition can be improved in any language (not just the language of the initial definition). However, when rewriting a definition, care should be taken that the definition still defines the same concept, in particular that the list of translations are still correct.

When a definition is modified in one language, the change should also be reflected in the definitions in the other languages. To indicate that these definitions need to be changed, the current practice is to edit the talk page of the DefinedMeaning, add a small explanation (like "improved the definition in English"), and use the outofsync template like this {{outofsync|deu}}, {{outofsync|spa}}, {{outofsync|grc}}, {{outofsync|fra}}, ....

Expressing the Definition[edit]

To a DefinedMeaning may be attached other Expressions, which may be in any Language including the Language associated with the DefinedMeaning. Expressions attached to a DefinedMeaning should express the concept defined by the Definition, they should not be translations of the First Expression.

There may be several Expressions from the same Language (i.e., synonyms). Each such match between an Expression and a Definition may be marked as being a good match or not; i.e, if the Expression adequately covers the given concept semantically and/or stylistically (see Help:Not identical).

If the match between a secondary Expression and a Translated Definition for the same Language is good there is no need to add another DefinedMeaning to express that particular concept for the Expression again.

If the match is not good, the combination of the Expression and the Definition may be thought of as an ApproximatedMeaning; and there is a need for a separate DefinedMeaning that does better justice to the Expression in question. It is crucial to not modify the TranslatedDefinition to better match the Expression for the given language, since this will lead to semantic drift. If the Definition does a poor job of expressing the concept of the Expression, another DefinedMeaning should be created, the original should be kept.

The Expression might very well express other concepts and need to be associated with other Definitions to form other DefinedMeanings.


DefinedMeanings may be related to other DefinedMeanings, and the relationship may be classified as for example a narrower term, broader term, part of theme etc. The exact set of classifications that will be used is not yet finalized.

Browsing the data[edit]

There are two ways in which you will be able to browse the data; you can enter a word in the search box; this will get you your information when it is there. The other way is by finding relations from one DefinedMeaning to another. For this relations have to be entered.

An example[edit]

The word German refers in the English definition to a person of German nationality. It translates both to Deutscher and Deutsche. These are however defined as a man of German nationality, and woman of German nationality, respectively. All three DefinedMeanings are required, the German and English words do not have identical meanings.

Technical aspect[edit]