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I was going through an article on wikipedia and somewhere it said, "the semantic meaning of [noun here] is twofold ......" When I look up the word semantic, to me, it is like a defining word that implicitly implies "meaning". Is this not a grammatical mistake?

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Superfluous redundancy is not usually a grammatical mistake. It may be a stylistic one. –  Peter Shor Jul 9 '13 at 15:10
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It's not a redundancy because as Andrew shows with his link, there is more than one kind of meaning. There's also literal and figurative meaning. –  Kristina Lopez Jul 9 '13 at 15:24
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Exactly. And there's phonosemantic "meaning", as the KL- words show. And there's lots of other kinds of "meaning", which essentially refers to any kind of interpersonal information exchange, by any (ahem) means at all. –  John Lawler Jul 9 '13 at 15:50
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Grammar usually means sytax, the ordering of words and word elements. Semantics or meaning is separate. 'Colorless green ideas slep furiously' is the classic example of a perfectly well-formed -grammatical- sentence, but has lots of semantic...difficulties. –  Mitch Jul 10 '13 at 2:30

2 Answers 2

No, I don't think it is redundant. The semantic meaning is only one type of meaning. For example, if somebody is being sarcastic then the actual meaning can be the opposite of the semantic meaning. Of course, a dictionary can usually only deal in semantic meaning, so perhaps it was unnecessary in that particular context, but it remains a useful distinction.

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There's no grammatical problem, but I think it is redundant, as you can just say "the semantics of...".

The argument above, that points out that there is more than one kind of meaning, doesn't follow. It's circular logic. It's not relevant whether there are other types of meanings. As you pointed out in the question, the word semantics means 'meaning', so the word meaning is redundant, and does not need defining. It doesn't need to be there at all.

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The word "semantics" is a lot more than just a synonym for "meaning". –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jul 10 '13 at 5:50
    
And?? Consider the context. There's no need to say "the semantic meaning of..." when you could say "the semantics of" so the comments above, despite the back slapping, are missing the basics. (cue downvotes...) –  Carl Smith Jul 10 '13 at 21:31
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"The speaker had implicated, pragmatically, that the film was terrible. The semantic meaning of his words, however, remained positive". Here is an example where the stress of meaning is helpful. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jul 11 '13 at 4:59
    
Also, remember the OP asked if "semantic meaning" is a mistake. Just because there are other ways of saying it, ways that might sound to some, subjectively, to be more stylistically appropriate, doesn't make "semantic meaning" a mistake. It would be a poor language that only allowed one way of saying something. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jul 11 '13 at 5:01
    
I never said it was a mistake. I said it was redundant. –  Carl Smith Jul 16 '13 at 0:49

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