Semantics
from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
The study of the meaning of words and sentences. Semantics was popularized in fandom largely thru the stories of Heinlein, and now every good fan will inquire into such questions as, 'How did his insulting you really hurt you?", "What do you mean by snobbishness?", "How does a coordinator coordinate, how does a local affiliate, and what difference does it make after it's affilitated?", "If you don't mean 'government control' by 'public control', what do you mean — control by industrial organizations?", "How much does the pledge that the Metrocon won't conflict with the Norwescon mean in the planning and execution of it?", usw. According to the philosophy behind semantics, if a proposition makes no conceivable difference in the way things may be expected to act, it is meaningless to ask whether it's "true" or not. So many fans have been made wary of such expressions as "free will", "significance", "essence", etc. Another angle of attack is to watch the emotional connotations of words. "Treason" was a bad word to brand a man with in Patrick Henry's day, but when the burgesses cried "Treason!" at him he defied the customary connotations of the word in his well-known reply. Because fans are expected to defy emotional connotations, it is not unusual to see more advanced ones calmly making such statements as: "Certainly I'm puritanical", "You've been stupid in this case", and "Fans are egoists who need to be taken down a notch".

It is not possible to discuss the entire field of semantics here, but the above indicates the chief way in which the study has been employed in fandom. It is a useful tool, tho it can be misused or abused.
from Fancyclopedia 1 ca. 1944
The study of the meaning of words and sentences. Semantics was popularized in fandom largely through the stories of Heinlein, and now every good fan goes around inquiring, "How did his insulting you really hurt you?", "What do you mean by snobbishness?", "How does a coordinator coordinate, how does a local affiliate, and what difference does it make after it's affiliated?", "If you don't mean government control by 'public control', what do you mean — control by industrial associations?", "How much does the pledge that the Newarkon won't conflict with the Denvention mean in the planning and execution of it?", usw. According to the philosophy behind semantics, if a proposition makes no conceivable difference in the way things may be expected to act, it is meaningless to ask whether it's true or not. So fans have been made wary of such words as "free will", "significance", "essence", &c. Another angle of attack is to watch the emotional connotations of words. "Treason" was a bad word to brand a man with in Patrick Henry's day, but when the burgesses cried "Treason! treason!" at him, he defied the customary connotations of the word in his well-known reply. Because fans are expected to do likewise, it is not unusual to see more advanced ones calmly making such statements as "Certainly I'm puritanical", "You've been stupid in this case", and "Fans are egoists who need to be taken down a notch".

It is not possible to discuss the entire field of semantics here, but the above indicates the chief ways in which the study has been employed in fandom. It is a useful tool, but can be misused or abused.

See also Alfred Korzybski.