Definition of general semantics in US English:

general semantics

plural noun

  • usually treated as singular A system of linguistic philosophy developed by Alfred Korzybski (1879–1950), which explores the arbitrary nature of words and symbols and attempts to refine ways of using language.

    • ‘But did you know that the quintessentially American gesture of wagging pairs of fingers in the air as if putting quotes around spoken words derives from general semantics - the term and the discipline that originated with A. Korzybski?’
    • ‘Having said that, what's that about general semantics?’
    • ‘If you have read anything by him you have had a primer on general semantics.’
    • ‘Korzybski, after defined time-binding, developed general semantics, a philosophy based on modern science that understands implicitly the important of language, knowledge and time.’
    • ‘Again, there's some more general semantics (‘the X that S’ where X might not normally take a definite article), and maybe something extra.’