Basic Notes for Defining/Glossing (an interpretation of) a Word:
Using Dictionary.com as a source for this information is fine.
For a full exploration or gloss of a word, include the following (and for less complete information, choose parts as needed): ( explanation of "To Gloss" )
current denotative (dictionary) meanings of the word(s) that comprise the term--especially as it is used in the textual reading (may not be the first meaning listed...)
current connotative meanings--that is the implications of the word, cultural usages or personal understanding.
3-5 pertinent synonyms and
a brief history (etymology) of the word (part of the dictionary.com listing or go to
The general purpose of this activity is to
provide familiarity with the resources that help us to expand vocabulary
for learning the meaning of ANY unfamiliar word
remind us of how words can have many meanings and origins
allow for personal thinking about and understanding of the word/idea
As we know, our society is based on language--our understanding of words. Our laws are based on the definitions of the words used to state the laws. Sometimes a life or death sentence can depend on the interpretation of a particular word. This exercise is meant to stress the importance of understanding words and where to find the current and historical meanings. This is a way that the pen (using words) is indeed a way to empower ourselves and is often mightier than the sword. Communication--the language used--can avoid a war and find solutions to many problems. Knowledge IS power....