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has approximately 9 questions tagged but I have no idea what this tag is for. Is it basically the same as ?

The tag wiki suggests:

For questions specifically dealing with the various different senses of a single word or term.

But that hardly clears up the confusion.

  • Sounds like “senses” as in the thing you find in lists in dictionaries. – Bradd Szonye Mar 27 '14 at 19:33
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    "Obviously, when ya'll puts a bunch o' words together, ya' make sen'ses." – IQAndreas Mar 29 '14 at 7:17
  • Oh damn IQAndreas. How is this comment not voted up +100? Do we have no southerners in the house? – Preston Apr 2 '14 at 14:51
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In summary, are the meanings of a word/lexeme within a language. The meaning can depend on the context as well.

tag is used for the differences between the meanings/senses of (related) lexemes.

Though, they can be both used in the same question because related words/lexemes are related to each other in sense. Thus, there are different senses between words or different senses within the same word.

If you go into details, "senses" in linguistics is a bit complicated and controversial actually (maybe because it comes from philosophy/philosophical semantics). Further read: Sense and Reference

From Word-sense disambiguation article in Wikipedia (this is related with computational linguistics though but it gives some ideas):

One problem with word sense disambiguation is deciding what the senses are. In cases like the word bass, at least some senses are obviously different. In other cases, however, the different senses can be closely related (one meaning being a metaphorical or metonymic extension of another), and in such cases division of words into senses becomes much more difficult. Different dictionaries and thesauruses will provide different divisions of words into senses.


The very notion of "word sense" is slippery and controversial. Most people can agree in distinctions at the coarse-grained homograph level (e.g., pen as writing instrument or enclosure), but go down one level to fine-grained polysemy, and disagreements arise.

Here is a passage from "Linguistic Semantics: An Introduction" By John Lyons:

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Probably I made it even more confusing by now but I hope it is helpful at least.

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    So... is there a difference between "senses of a word" and "different meanings of a word"? – MrHen Mar 28 '14 at 15:14
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    I'm going to say "no" to avoid further confusion :) – ermanen Mar 28 '14 at 16:07
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    So if even you say "no", ermanen (I agree with you), can we make the senses tag a synonym for the meanings tag, thus eliminating likely confusion e.g. as in this question with the senses tag english.stackexchange.com/questions/104483/… The question is about common sense. – Ellie Kesselman Mar 29 '14 at 4:30
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I have heard the phrase "proper sense stress", which was defined as "emphasizing words and phrases in a way that makes it easy for listeners to grasp the ideas being expressed."

Although, that is used more for speech than written English, so I'm not sure if the answers that use that tag are referring to this or not.

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Isn't sense a grammar category like 'voice' or 'tense'. Google wasn't a lot of help in finding a definite answer.

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    Sense is not a grammar category, and indeed has nothing to do with grammar at all. This is like googling whether "stockings" is a grammar category — of course you won't find anything remotely useful on that. – RegDwigнt Mar 29 '14 at 1:37

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