When studying Semantic meaning, I got confused about the interpretation of Semantic in such a sentence:

You are as fat as a pig

In such sentences, how should I interpret the Semantic meaning:

As: "You are very fat" or simply "You are as fat as a pig" ?

I think, in my interpretation, semantics opposes to literality.

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    It's a metaphor. – marcellothearcane Jul 19 '17 at 14:00
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    @marcellothearcane a simile, rather than a metaphor, I think. "You are a pig" would be a metaphor. Anyway, the meaning is simply "You are very fat." BTW "Semantic meaning" is redundant, since "semantic" already refers to the meaning of things. – Max Williams Jul 19 '17 at 14:07
  • "Semantic meaning" beats me. – Kris Jul 19 '17 at 14:44
  • If you're trying to distinguish between 'what it means' and 'what it says', then your analysis would be consistent with interpreting the quote idiomatically. However, one doesn't have to interpret the quote idiomatically - it can be interpreted literally, in which case what it means and what it says would be identical. – Lawrence Jul 19 '17 at 15:09
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    @Haseo It could be either. – Lawrence Jul 30 '17 at 23:05

To expand my comment, semantics is simply the meaning of words:

the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning. The two main areas are logical semantics, concerned with matters such as sense and reference and presupposition and implication, and lexical semantics, concerned with the analysis of word meanings and relations between them. Source

See this pdf.

Not everything in English is literal - consider humour, irony, sarcasm, personification, similes, and metaphors.

A simile (like your example) is:

a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g. as brave as a lion). Source

In your example 'You are as fat as a pig' means 'you are very fat', so fat that you resemble a pig. See https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/fat+as+a+pig.

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    @Haseo a simile is a literary technique, when you compare something with something else, using 'like' or 'as' - for example 'she swam like a fish', or 'he was as *fast *as a greyhound'. Semantics is concerned with the meaning behind this - she isn't actually a fish, and he isn't actually a greyhound, but the similarity has been made for imagery. – marcellothearcane Jul 30 '17 at 17:55
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    @Haseo semantics is the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning, so I presume so (I might be getting confused with pragmatics though) But insofar as I understand it, semantics is the meaning of everything, all the forms of imagery I mentioned and more. Similes and metaphors are merely different types of imagery. Yes, I think that this "embedded meaning" is indeed the semantics... hope this helps and isn't too confusing! – marcellothearcane Jul 30 '17 at 18:33
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    @Haseo 'semantics' not 'semantic'. I don't make the rules, that's just how it is supposed to be. – Mitch Jul 30 '17 at 19:53
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    @Haseo You might be much further enlightened if you read the articles on Wikipedia on semantics, pragmatics, and figures of speech. 'Embedded meaning' is not a technical term; you introduced it - do you mean literal meaning or do you mean the intended meaning that is not literal? – Mitch Jul 30 '17 at 19:58
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    @Haseo OK then. To clarify your question I think you are asking directly, without all the attempts at technical language, "What does 'You are as fat as a pig.' mean?". The answer is: the meaning is 'You are fat'. Why? Because pigs are generally considered fat, and on the other hand, you don't have a particular pig to compare with. Whether it is literal or non-literal (figurative) is a bit subtle - words (beyond technical ones) are hardly ever exactly entirely literal. The difference between metaphor (as non-literal) and simile ('like a pig') is not very consequential. – Mitch Jul 31 '17 at 13:56

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