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12 years, 1 month ago
I'm not looking for a particular part of speech.
A corollary to this idea, and in some ways the opposite, is when something is defined by/as itself. A lot of times you will find this in bad dictionaries when the definition of a word refers to a word whose definition refers to the original word. I am wondering if there is a word to describe this phenomenon.
I also recognize that using 'whose' above is grammatically incorrect, as it refers to a person. What would I replace it with?
Feb 15, 2011 at 9:41
Peter Cameron Peter Cameron
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Interesting question! Are you looking for a word for “negative definition”?
In the theory of logic something can be defined with “double negation”.
In philosophy, Hegel helps with antithesis ‒ the opposite of thesis ‒ to explain ideas.
Feb 15, 2011 at 11:06
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I think what you are looking for is "negative definition". It is often used where it is much easier to contrast something with what it isn't than define exactly what it is.
This gives an example (rather simplistic but...).
Feb 15, 2011 at 12:48
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Theologically, the term used for definition through negation is
(Of knowledge of God) Obtained through negation. The opposite of cataphatic.
Eastern Orthodox Christianity emphasizes
apophatic theology - the Western equivalent is sometimes called ‘negative’ theology.
Oxford Dictionaries Online)
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Mar 12, 2016 at 0:05
In art, the terms "interstities," "negative space," and "figure-ground" are often used.
Feb 15, 2011 at 15:36
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The problem with
negative definition is this can have quite a wide range of meanings, not just the one OP seems to be looking for.
I therefore suggest
antonymic definition (as used in the second line of the third paragraph here), where I think even without the context, it's quite clear exactly what is meant.
Aug 23, 2011 at 22:48
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Maybe you mean this sort of entry:
recursion n. See recursion.
even if indirect, i.e. via other entries.
This we would call a
But something defined by its opposite? What could that mean?
whose in your sentence is perfectly okay to avoid a clumsy locution like "the definition of which".
May 14, 2016 at 10:45
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Even though I am not able to interpret your question perfectly, in case you mean the habit of using the wrong words at wrong places, then it is called
The blundering use of an absurdly inappropriate word or expression in place of a similar sounding one.
Feb 15, 2011 at 10:56
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