As the title suggests, I'm looking for a verb whose definition is "to give/assign meaning to", "to define a function of", "to invent a use/meaning for" or something close. This might be a little vague, but I hope I can at least get some guesses or stabs at it.

On a similar note, are there web searches that allow for finding words given their meanings?

  • 8
    I am having a little trouble figuring out what you are asking. Can you provide a few example sentences with [blank] for the word you want?
    – MrHen
    Apr 11, 2011 at 17:15
  • 3
    OneLook Reverse Dictionary
    – Hugo
    Nov 9, 2011 at 19:55
  • @MrHen Not sure if I got it right, not being NSE, but I think the OP's asking about a one-word term that can be used as a verb and denotes the act of making something meaningful. E.g. "I become a father and that gave meaning to my existence.". The best suggestion I have to offer on that is to meanigfulize but it's not that goody and definitely maddy-uppy. :) Jul 8, 2014 at 15:36

8 Answers 8


From the Urban Dictionary: Semanticate

v. tr. (from the adj. semantic); the intended meaning (implicit or explicit) of an individual’s communication; that which is trying to be communicated by an individual.

When I speak of ‘freedom’ I do not mean the bland and passive ‘freedom from’ commitment or responsibility that is too often semanticated.

The word is also well defined and used in Computer Science.

From the Semantic Web: "... reads the first paragraph(,) takes the first sentence, and semanticate(s) it as the principal attribute ..."

SVN Code

namespace semanticator {
public class Semanticator {
    private AssemblyDefinition semanticatedFile;
public void semanticate(string fileName) {
        string ontologyString = sourceCodeSemantics(fileName);
        addOntologyToAssembly(fileName, ontologyString);
  • 3
    Gah! That's not a word!
    – Mitch
    Nov 9, 2011 at 20:53
  • 3
    Urban Dictionary should really be flagged: while it has an undeniable rugged appeal, enquirers using it as a source for genuine English are asking for trouble. Nov 9, 2011 at 22:31

I can only think of:




  • When used in this context, you might also use 'validate'.
    – oosterwal
    Apr 11, 2011 at 17:59

The parameters are several, but words that fit one or another of them that come to mind: imbue, inscribe, coin, imprint, mark.

No need to over-think it, though: "name" and "define" work perfectly well.


to signify; to ascribe meaning


A few options:

  • coin — "He coined a phrase."
  • define
  • determine
  • specify
  • assign
  • establish
  • ascertain
  • discover

"add significance to" "give import to" "disambiguate"

Or just "clarify"


Not sure, but does institute work?


From Dictionary.com:


de·note [dih-noht]

1.to be a mark or sign of; indicate: A fever often denotes an infection.
2. to be a name or designation for; mean.
3. to represent by a symbol; stand as a symbol for.


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