I am wondering if there's a word for it? I can't think of a word that means that, and yet it would be a useful words since a lot of people did that in the past, especially in the area of philosophy and science.

1 Answer 1


The general term for adding or modifying meaning to anything -- a word, a concept, a philosophy, etc. -- is "redefine":

Until recently, tweeting referred to the mindless and reflexive chirping of birds. After Twitter, of course, it's been redefined to include the mindless and reflexive chirping of people as well.

Another word which may apply is "repurpose" which (as it sounds) means to take something functional and use it for a new or additional function:

I've found that, if I'm really cold, all I have to do is load Facebook and I can repurpose my old laptop as a space heater.

  • I thought redefining just meant modifying the old meaning.
    – Sayaman
    Feb 21, 2019 at 1:21
  • Plus 1 for the quotes ;-)
    – fred2
    Feb 21, 2019 at 1:47
  • 1
    @repomonster It's often thought of that way. But in lexicography terms, a definition of a word is the complete set of all of its different senses. Even though a lot of people commonly say that a word has multiple definitions—and they can think of it that way if they wish—people who work with dictionaries will say that each word has one definition per dictionary, and that its single definition may include multiple senses. In that respect, if you add a sense to the definition of a word, you are changing its overall definition. Feb 21, 2019 at 7:52

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