Semantics is the study of meaning that is used to understand human expressions through language. It is perhaps the hardest part of a grammar of a language to learn because the meanings in a language are indefinite/undetermined. Although a word can have more than one meaning there is always a primary or original meaning that it expresses. This original meaning is called denotation. On the other hand, any additional meanings that a word may have are called connotations.
1.1. Polysemy – having two or more meanings, i.e. referring to two or more items of extralinguistic reality, but at the same time sharing at least one element of meaning: without this link – the shared meaning – it would be a case of homonymy.
e.g. big with the meanings – spacious (town), high (tree), adult (boy), numerous (nation), important (boss) – the shared item of meaning is “great amount/number”
plain(as in simple) – plain(as in not decorated in any way)
Polysemy is a manifestation of the economizing tendency in the language, namely making use of existing forms for additional, newly needed meanings.
1.2. Synonymy – a synonym is a word or phrase which has the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or phrase. Three different types of synonymy can be distinguished:
a) near synonymy – expressions that are more or less similar but not identical in meaning
mist – fog; stream – brook; dive – plunge;
b) partial synonymy – words that meet the criterion of identity of meaning but which,for various reasons, fail to meet the criterion for absolute synonymy
car – vehicle; quick – fast – rapid;
c) absolute synonymy – words that match in all their shades of meaning and in all stylistic characteristics. Their meanings are identical and they are synonymous in all contexts
airman – pilot; car – automobile; kind – sort;