Term vs Word
Most of us do not give much thought to the difference between term and word and use them interchangeably. However, a word is a meaningful element in a language. A term, on the other hand, is a word but has a particular meaning in a situation. Hence, these two cannot be used interchangeably. The relationship between a word and a term can simply be understood in the following manner. All terms are words, but not all words are terms. This highlights that words have a general meaning, which applies to our day to day understanding. However, a term goes a step further; it acquires a special meaning in a special situation. Through this article let us examine the differences between a word and a term.
What is a Word?
A word can be defined as a complete meaningful element of a language. Words are made up of morphemes that are the smallest elements of a language. Unlike morphemes that may or may not be able to stand alone, words can always make sense even in isolation. When a number of words are put together, they create a sentence. However, we must pay attention to the grammatical rules that apply to language when creating sentences.
Words can be spoken or else written. These always carry a meaning that is understood by the majority, making the meaning almost universal to the speaker. However, a term does not always carry the same meaning. Most terms are also words. This can be a single word or else a combination of words. When we say culture, value, crime, girl, animal, all these words have a universal meaning to the reader. However, a term does not have this characteristic. It has a special meaning in a specific context.
What is a Term?
A term can simply be understood as a word. All terms are words, but not all words are terms. A term is a particular definition of a word, which is applicable to a special situation. For example, in disciplines such as sociology, psychology, biology, geography, there are terms that convey a unique meaning to the user. A term can be used to express an idea, an abstract thought, an object, a concept, etc. A term always represents something.
The special feature of a term is that even though it may have a general meaning in our day to day life, it is different from the meaning with which it is associated in a particular discipline. For example, let us take the very idea of a word.
Most of us consider a word as something that is used to represent something else such as a chair or a book. However, a linguistic may have a completely different definition for a word. He may consider it as the smallest meaningful element of a language. A sociolinguistic may define it as the relationship between the signifier and the signified. This highlights that a term and a word are very different from one another.
What is the difference Between Term and Word?
• Definitions of Term and Word:
• A word can be defined as a complete meaningful element of a language.
• A term is a particular definition of a word, which is applicable to a specific situation.
• All terms are words, but not all words are terms.
• Words have a universal meaning to the speaker of that particular language.
• A term does not have a universal meaning. It has a special meaning in a specific situation.
• Transferring Meaning:
• A word can be transformed into a term when used in a discipline to refer to a specific object or situation.