De Facto and De Jure Theories of Meaning

Discipline: Philosophy

A distinction associated with use theories of meaning.

De facto theories give the meaning of a word in terms of how it is actually used; de jure theories give it in terms of how it should be used, or of rules for its use, claiming that actual usage may be incorrect.

L J Cohen, The Diversity of Meaning (1962, revised 1966), ch. 2

Also see:

· de facto
· de jure


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