Glosses vs. Definitions, different kinds of lexica

Jonathan Robie (
Tue, 05 Nov 1996 08:59:41 -0500

I was talking to a certified RBG about the word EPIQUMEW, and he pointed out
that most lexica do not really offer definitions for words, they offer only
glosses. I had complained that the glosses weren't really good definitions,
and he said that they weren't meant to be -- I was abusing the lexicon if I
treated the glosses as adequate definitions.

I suspect a lot of us *do* abuse the lexica this way. After all, when I bought
a lexicon, I did this so that I could look up words to see what they mean. If
a lexicon isn't there to tell me what a word means, what *is* the main purpose
of a lexicon?

According to him, Louw & Nida is the only lexicon which attempts to give real
definitions for words. But Louw & Nida can be quirky at times -- it is a
work, and this sometimes shows. Of course, both Kittel and Vines discuss
significant words and the doctrines associated with them in depth, but
neither is
really a lexicon.

So what are the differences between the different word study tools? When do
I use each? What is the standard operating procedure if I want to know what
a word
really means?


Acts 2:12 (GNT) existanto de pantes kai dihporoun, allos pros allon
legontes: ti qelei touto einai;

Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
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