What does the following sentence mean?

Spiders are not strictly insects.

Does it have the same meaning as

Strictly speaking, spiders are not insects.

  • By the way, and this is more a comment on the content, not on its grammatical correctness, but whether we are speaking strictly or not, spiders are not insects.... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider and venomousspiders.net/arespidersinsects.htm, but honestly, arachnids or insects, calling something one thing or not calling it something is just a human construct. For example, flies would probably be more concerned with whether spiders are friend or foe :O :D. – Teacher KSHuang May 10 '17 at 11:57

It means that spiders, even though they are considered by many people to be insects, they are not technically insects. Strictly is used like shorthand for:

Spiders are not insects by the strictest definition.

Another word you could use instead of strictly is technically. This has the same definition.

Spiders are not technically insects.

With regards to the second part of your question, both sentences are effectively the same in meaning.

| improve this answer | |
  • For example "The ban on hunting is not strictly enforced" can be paraphrased as "It is not true that the ban on hunting is strictly enforced". But, "Spiders are not strictly insects" doesn't seem to be the same as "it is not true that spiders are strictly insects", which probably means something like "spiders are not 100% insects". From this I thought that the sentence "spiders are not strictly insects" is nonsensical. Am I wrong? – Aki May 9 '17 at 14:16
  • I don't see those first two sentences as being equivalent. The first says that there is a ban on hunting, but it is not adhered to strongly. The second says there is a ban on hunting which is believed to be adhered to strongly but is not. The inclusion of the not true changes the focus from the strength of enforcement of the ban to the truth of the strength of the enforcement of the ban, which is quite different. – Cantalouping May 9 '17 at 14:20
  • I see. Then, what about "It is not so that the ban on hunting is strictly enforced" vs "The ban on hunting is not strictly enforced" and "It is not so that spiders are strictly insects" vs "spiders are not strictly insects" ? – Aki May 9 '17 at 14:40
  • That's definitely closer, if a bit peculiar in structure. – Cantalouping May 9 '17 at 14:43
  • @Aki: I would consider "spiders are not strictly insects" to be a shorter form of "spiders are not strictly classified as insects". Both sentences are talking about the classification of the animal species. – Flater May 9 '17 at 14:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.