Semantics | Sem*an”tics |
n. sing. or pl. Gr. shmantikos having meaning, from sh^ma a sign.
1. the study of the meanings of words and of the sense development of words; — formerly called semasiology.
The phrase “arguing semantics” is a new pet peeve of mine, as arguing semantics literally means “arguing meaning,” which is exactly what one should be arguing, as far as I can tell. Especially on topics such as abortion, where the semantics of “life” and “person” are the entire argument; in this case, if you’re arguing semantics, you’re just paying attention.
Most people seem to think that “arguing semantics” is some how analogous to being picky. Perhaps a better phrase is “arguing pedantics,” where to be pedantic is to be “overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning,” though common sense and my spell checker tell me you can’t just add an s to an adjective without serious repercussions.
Posted by Red Scott @ 7:06 pm