This is the description of the tag :

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about what a word means. If the question is about the meaning of a word that can't be understood outside its phrase or sentence, the "meaning-in-context" tag should be also used; for the meaning of a phrase, use the "phrase-meaning" tag instead.

And this is the description of the tag :

For questions which a dictionary cannot answer about the meaning of a single word. It is best to include details about where you found the word, and any definitions that you have found that don't make sense, or don't fully answer your question.

There is little difference between these two tags, and they should be synonymized at the very least. Both tags are rarely useful as standalone tags, and serves their purpose when they are. I suggest we delete these two tags entirely.

  • 1
    They're both stupid broad tags that make me sick. I bashed [meaning] in this meta post of mine. By all means, start out the next and condemn its subsets.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 22, 2016 at 11:54
  • 2
    Can you give some worked examples of posts with either of these tags at present, the tags they should have instead, and the rationale? I've found it distressingly non-trivial in general to reliably get rid of these tags in my own editing. Feb 26, 2016 at 23:29

3 Answers 3


These tags are members of the pool of tags that no one really likes very much, but we also don't quite know how to replace them. I've never been fond of ; I think is valid when needed, and that is redundant most of the time. Also, and are often used as the only tag on a question, which isn't something we encourage.

I'd be happy to merge word-meaning into meaning, but I'd be happier eliminating them both. If we can 1) get community consensus and 2) undertake the project of going through all the and questions and adding other appropriate tags (so they don't land in the "untagged" bin), I'd love to knock these two out.

  • Why don't we create a poll question, wait for a while and then choose the top voted answer?
    – Ooker
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:26
  • @Ooker Poll questions aren't allowed on meta. If you'll allow me, though, I can make a few small edits to your post to turn it into a request, and then mark it Featured so it will show up on the right sidebar and gain attention. Usually 10 upvotes is considered enough community support to take action, provided there isn't a significant dissent.
    – WendiKidd
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:29
  • I'm happy to help, so go ahead
    – Ooker
    Feb 26, 2016 at 18:30
  • Noice! 'tis featured. I think for the time being, [x-meaning] tags should stay, even though they're not much better than [meaning] itself, until we find a better solution. Oh wait, actually something hit my mind.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 27, 2016 at 9:56
  • I have something like a half-baked idea. The problem is it's not seasoned at all and has many problems, but I have nothing else in mind. The problem is [meaning] vs. [x-meaning] is a talk of redundancy, but neither of the tags are practically useful, as you have pointed out.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 27, 2016 at 10:21
  • @IͶΔ I just read though the chat log you posted, and I too now have a half-baked idea... If a question is tagged meaning, but not meaning-in-context, I can only think of 2 categories it might fit into: 1) closed as answerable by dictionary; 2) OP wants further explanation than a confusing dictionary entry provides. And these are Qs that others might have in the future. So what if we had meaning-in-context and meaning-beyond-dictionary/definition (or something that sounds better but means that). Would that take care of the two main cases?
    – WendiKidd
    Feb 27, 2016 at 21:30
  • @Wendi I also have seen many questions where a sentence or a phrase confuses the OP and they rather just ask for its meaning in order to get out of confusion. That's why I'm hesitating to say a "yes" to your question, but I think it would cover most of the cases.
    – M.A.R.
    Feb 27, 2016 at 21:37
  • Half-joking idea: rename [meaning] to [dictionary-fail]. :)
    – Martha
    Mar 1, 2016 at 16:26
  • In my view, meaning and word-meaning, both tags should be banned. Mar 4, 2016 at 6:37
  • @Martha Exactly! We need something like that, that people will think of when they're trying to tag their question. I encounter that problem when I join a new SE site... What do I tag this question?? I think coming up with something that encapsulates the issue and will come to users' minds is hard. But honestly... I like "dictionary-fail" better than meaning. word-interpretation? I don't know... This is difficult.
    – WendiKidd
    Mar 6, 2016 at 21:24

So, it turns out these meaning tags have a bunch of questions associated with them and a number of followers.

I would like to start by merging into . I think we only need one general "meaning" tag and I think meaning-in-context makes more sense than meaning. If the question is not about the word or phrase in a particular context, and it's not , it would almost certainly be something that could be answered with the dictionary.

This merge is going to affect about 2800 posts, and the 34 followers of if I make the tag a synonym of meaning-in-context. I would like to do one last double-check with everyone before I undertake such a drastic change that is not easily reversible.

Are we OK with merging meaning and meaning-in-context?

Are we OK with meaning being made a synonym of meaning-in-context?


What I would do is retagging those questions that could use another tag instead of or ; then, merge with and make the first synonym of the second one, to have a single tag to deal with.

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