I am unsure why my professor is using the word manifestations for example here

Biochemical manifestations of apoptosis. Activation of caspase family, DNA and protein breakdown, and Membrane alteration facilitating the recognition by macrophages.

I think the manifestations these manifestations are only processes in the apoptosis. What is the definition of manifestation?

What is a better word for a manifestation? I think just a process.

  • Where does one check on the various recognised usages of a word? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 10 '14 at 11:04
  • 1
    Why don't you think manifestation as defined in dictionaries isn't the perfect word? – Jon Hanna Feb 10 '14 at 11:39
  • @EdwinAshworth As you said yourself, from usage! Look up the word in the relevant domain. Of course, one needs to be familiar with the domain to correctly understand the usage in the given context. – Kris Feb 11 '14 at 9:14
  • @JonHanna It is the perfect word. However, see the comments on this page and you will understand people have difficulty in correctly understanding the implication of the word. A simpler phrase could be better for some readers. – Kris Feb 11 '14 at 9:39

Simply put, the phrase means the way cell-death makes itself appear (presents/ manifests itself) through various means.

  • It could just mean the instances / examples in which cell death occurs. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 11 '14 at 9:19
  • @EdwinAshworth No. And in STM/ technical literature, these differences are highly significant. It is difficult to explain here. Think of manifestation as a symptom rather than an example. HTH. – Kris Feb 11 '14 at 9:23
  • This is a general English website, and I can find authorities giving say 'instance' as a synonym for 'manifestation'. I'd say the requirement to limit allowable polysemes of 'manifestation' to a scientific register takes this off-topic. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 11 '14 at 9:31
  • @EdwinAshworth I respect your opinion. May be you are right. The given sentence cannot be interpreted using your definition or the synonyms. I suggest you see the meaning of 'synonym' in a dictionary and its usage. – Kris Feb 11 '14 at 9:37
  • I've written articles on synonymy / polysemy. No two words are totally interchangeable. Looking at the (English) situation here, I say that 'instance' may replace 'manifestation' in some instances. From the phrasing of OP's opening sentence fragment, the only cue as to which polyseme is intended (unless one attempts a frequency analysis) is the register. Both '(observable) instances' and 'observable results' would fit, unless one has a detailed knowledge of the biochemistry involved (which would take us off-topic). – Edwin Ashworth Feb 11 '14 at 9:43

Would the word transformation better suit the sentence?

  • Why would it? It has a completely different meaning. – oerkelens Feb 10 '14 at 12:09

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.