What the word fails to say, circumstance mutely adds… The real meaning of a word is not in the dictionary; it is in the instant. Jose Ortega y Gasset, Concord & Liberty, p. 13
I got a lot of positive feedback from folks on the first installment of the New Lexicon series wherein I gave a working definition of “philosophy.” I also got a regular remark concerning the use of the term “lexicon.” Granted, as words go, it is not the kind of term that will organically pop up around the kitchen table. But then neither will most of the words that will go in this series.
The reason I chose Lexicon over Dictionary is that a dictionary helps to give words that are commonly in use some kind of standardized meaning. A lexicon, on the other hand, is used to lay out possible meanings of FOREIGN WORDS.
For instance, among the late Romans, Lexicons were popular for helping to determine given words and sentence structures from Greek, Syriac, Hebrew, & Arabic. These were meant to be approximations since the ancients were not so silly as to believe there could be a one to one translation (correspondence) of terms.
Because the purpose of this particular series is to help in coming up with plain speak approximations of terms that have become so specialized as to be almost from a foreign tongue, let us call it a Lexicon rather than a dictionary.
We are not trying to standardize meanings but to use descriptive language to elucidate the diverse processes and products that arise from careful critique through engaged communication.