Merriam Webster’s definition of thesaurus is “a book in which words that have the same or similar meanings are grouped together”. Like words themselves, the definitions evolve over time. This interesting information came from an unlikely source in The Christian Science Monitor and their article, “Not so lost in translation: How are words related?

Some words have dramatically changed meaning throughout the ages as well as popularity. Take gruntled, for example. The use of disgruntled is common, but the definition of gruntled is “to put in a good humor” and when is the last time you heard that used in conversation?

In an attempt to understand how words’ meanings evolve, a team of scientists mapped out the relationships between different words and their meanings in a sort of linguistic snapshot, capturing the process in action.

Words with multiple meanings are known as polysemous words. One team of scientists created a semantic network, connecting words through these polysemous translations. The results appeared in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Building relationships is what taxonomies are all about. True taxonomies can help manage big data by providing a solid standards-based taxonomy to index against. The results are comprehensive and consistent search results. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies because of consistency.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.