It is natural to think of the meaning of a word as something conventional.
Spoken and written words are, of course, not the only way of conveying meaning.
When we ask what constitutes meaning, we are not asking what is the meaning of this or that particular word.
The meaning of one of these words differs very fundamentally from the meaning of one of any of our previous classes, being more abstract and logically simpler than any of them.
To say that a word has a meaning is not to say that those who use the word correctly have ever thought out what the meaning is: the use of the word comes first, and the meaning is to be distilled out of it by observation and analysis.
The relation of a word to its meaning is of the nature of a causal law governing our use of the word and our actions when we hear it used.
You see it's like a portmanteau--there are two meanings
packed up into one word.
But see the consequence:--Many a man who is ignorant of human nature has friends who are bad friends, and in that case he ought to do harm to them; and he has good enemies whom he ought to benefit; but, if so, we shall be saying the very opposite of that which we affirmed to be the meaning
You fall into error occasionally, because you mistake the name of a person for the name of a thing, and waste a good deal of time trying to dig a meaning out of it.
I suppose that in all languages the similarities of look and sound between words which have no similarity in meaning are a fruitful source of perplexity to the foreigner.
The various words used in building them are in the dictionary, but in a very scattered condition; so you can hunt the materials out, one by one, and get at the meaning at last, but it is a tedious and harassing business.
are words which have plenty of meaning, but the SOUNDS
But mainly, think of the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the speaker is trying to convey.
But he had not done either, but had gone on living, thinking, and feeling, and had even at that very time married, and had had many joys and had been happy, when he was not thinking of the meaning
of his life.
She stared, taking my meaning
in; but it produced in her an odd laugh.