Hi, I suggest that you use the "word-in-context" strategy. I would do that by parsing a certain text in which a certain word or word phrase occurs first, then generate a concordance showing all the different usages of the word or word phrases in context and finally draw some conclusions on the meaning(s) - one or several ones - in context. Last not least, you could summarise the meaning(s) you found in the text.

Eliciting the meaning of a word or word phrase can only be done when looking at the context, i. e. the environment within which the item is used as a part of a longer text. Native speakers may have their subjective opinions about the meaning; thus, my advice would be to back up your own opinion in that respect by empirical research. For a simple text and using a good concordance software, this will only take you a couple of minutes.

Hope that helps.

Quote Originally Posted by Photon Guy View Post
A big problem with the English language, at least for me, is when I have a hard time making a point because of semantics. Exactly what a word or phrase means can be confusing at times and different people can give it different meanings.