• Dictionaries
  • Context and Use


Leo and other online dictionaries are great for crossword puzzles, but they are much too simple for understanding the meaning of a term in any different context or for different purposes.

  • Oxford DT — Examine how a term will likely have different meanings based on context
  • Collins Reverso — Look for how terms are explained as actions leading to consequences
  • Economist Economist A-Z — Here discover how the term is used differently (and rather precisely) by bankers and lawyers
  • Business Dictionary — Explore this encyclopedic approach to the term’s application in business

Context and Use

How meanings are context-dependent

If you say “I do” say say to a waitress in a restaurant standing in front of you holding a spoon of sugar above your coffee you’ll get a sweeter coffee, but if you are standing in a church next to a lady in white and say “I do” to the priest you’ll get a sweetheart forever.

Explore your favorite business term

By design, dictionaries typically generalize and idealize their findings so that the definitions might be useful to different users and purposes, which is just great.

But when we get down to the particular problems of today and the particular ways our target audience might be addressing a problem, we will likely need definitions with finer grain

  • Using the example of “risk” above or your favorite term, plug the term into Google Search and restrict use by including relevant keywords, such as the names of the big 4 consulting terms or other aspects of your word’s context
  • Look for different shades of meaning and list a number of them, with a copy of the source definition or text, in your outline’s lower levels, as you will see here