Dominant group/Synonymous definition

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Synonyms are like identical twins. They may not be as identical as they seem. Credit: Jason McELweenie.

A synonymous definition is a definition “defining a single word [or symbol] by giving another single word [or symbol] which has the same meaning.”[1] But, synonymous definitions have limitations:

  1. “some words have no exact synonyms”[1],
  2. a synonymous definition “cannot be used in the construction of precising or theoretical definitions.”[1], and
  3. no synonym should appear in the definiens of a genus–differentia definition.[1]

In addition to composing relative synonyms for the two-word term dominant group, there is the testing of synonymy for these relative synonyms. Some relative synonyms may have achieved far greater popularity than dominant group and perhaps thereby have precising definitions somewhat different from the more general definition of a dominant group.

There is also the possibility that dominant group is not the original stem term but a more recent relative synonym of that stem term. The evolution of the concept behind dominant group may have been substantial.

Control group hypothesis[edit | edit source]

A dominant group [of humans] may prefer that subordinate groups, slaves (or representatives of same) be used as members of a treatment group to test a possible new treatment so that the lives or wants of the dominant group are not in jeopardy, especially where failure is a significant possibility.

As the purpose of a treatment group appears to be for testing a potentially beneficial change, an initial control group is probably preferred to be an ancient dominant group.

Dominant group[edit | edit source]

The two-word term dominant group has a large variety of synonyms with the oldest so far discovered being classicus, referring to the patrician class of ancient Rome.

"From that constatation which is similar to the constatation that the human rights system expresses the views of the dominant group, Kymlicka concludes the need for cultural accommodation."[2] Bold added.

Examples from primary sources are to be used to prove or disprove each hypothesis. These can be collected per subject or in general.

  1. Accident hypothesis: dominant group is an accident of whatever processes are operating.
  2. Artifact hypothesis: dominant group may be an artifact of human endeavor or may have preceded humanity.
  3. Association hypothesis: dominant group is associated in some way with the original research.
  4. Bad group hypothesis: dominant group is the group that engages in discrimination, abuse, punishment, and additional criminal activity against other groups. It often has an unfair advantage and uses it to express monopolistic practices.
  5. Control group hypothesis: there is a control group that can be used to study dominant group.
  6. Entity hypothesis: dominant group is an entity within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  7. Evolution hypothesis: dominant group is a product of evolutionary processes, such groups are the evolutionary process, produce evolutionary processes, or are independent of evolutionary processes.
  8. Identifier hypothesis: dominant group is an identifier used by primary source authors of original research to identify an observation in the process of analysis.
  9. Importance hypothesis: dominant group signifies original research results that usually need to be explained by theory and interpretation of experiments.
  10. Indicator hypothesis: dominant group may be an indicator of something as yet not understood by the primary author of original research.
  11. Influence hypothesis: dominant group is included in a primary source article containing original research to indicate influence or an influential phenomenon.
  12. Interest hypothesis: dominant group is a theoretical entity used by scholarly authors of primary sources for phenomena of interest.
  13. Metadefinition hypothesis: all uses of dominant group by all primary source authors of original research are included in the metadefinition for dominant group.
  14. Null hypothesis: there is no significant or special meaning of dominant group in any sentence or figure caption in any refereed journal article.
  15. Object hypothesis: dominant group is an object within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  16. Obvious hypothesis: the only meaning of dominant group is the one found in Mosby's Medical Dictionary.
  17. Original research hypothesis: dominant group is included in a primary source article by the author to indicate that the article contains original research.
  18. Primordial hypothesis: dominant group is a primordial concept inherent to humans such that every language or other form of communication no matter how old or whether extinct, on the verge of extinction, or not, has at least a synonym for dominant group.
  19. Purpose hypothesis: dominant group is written into articles by authors for a purpose.
  20. Regional hypothesis: dominant group, when it occurs, is only a manifestation of the limitations within a region. Variation of those limitations may result in the loss of a dominant group with the eventual appearance of a new one or none at all.
  21. Source hypothesis: dominant group is a source within each field where a primary author of original research uses the term.
  22. Term hypothesis: dominant group is a significant term that may require a 'rigorous definition' or application and verification of an empirical definition.

Synonyms[edit | edit source]

"Synonyms can be any part of speech (such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs or prepositions), as long as both members of the pair are the same part of speech."[3]

Synonymous definitions[edit | edit source]

Def. "a method in which another word is provided having the same general sense as the definiendum and with which the learner is already familiar"[4]

"This is the commonest method of definition used in dictionaries."[4]

"[D]efinitions (ideally) provide semantic clarity, clarifying ambiguous and vague terms and, hence, mitigating terminological confusion, a critical imperative particularly in combined or multinational (and multilingual) military operations."[4]

""[S]cience requires universal agreement...on the inferences that can be drawn from those terms when they are combined into propositions. Safe and agreed inferences are possible only with precise and unambiguous terms" (Robinson 1950: 70)."[4]

"If the lexicographer defines the verb harm as cause harm to, he refers to a word the user of the dictionary is assumed to know, even if it is the same lexeme, and this corresponds to Robinson's definition of synonymous definition."[5]

"A synonymous definition employing less familiar words definitely fails to meet one of the important principles of good defining, ie —The definition /.../ must answer the question, —what is it?,“ directly and immediately“ (Landau 2001: 162)."[6]

Def. "one in which the definiens is a single word having the same meaning as the definiendum"[7] is called a synonymous definition.

Majority[edit | edit source]

Synonyms for "majority"[8]
Synonym Category Number Category Title
“main part” 54 WHOLE
“majorship” 747 MASTER
“maturity” 126 AGE
“plurality” 100 PLURALITY
“superiority” 36 SUPERIORITY

Recent history[edit | edit source]

The recent history period dates from around 1,000 b2k to present.

From JSTOR, url=, the earliest occurrence in an article of the above and other words of interest are

Earliest article occurrence of words of interest.
Symbol Year
"dominant" 1672
"group" ~1739
“main part” 1665
"majority" 1672
“majorship” 1880
“maturity” 1665
“plurality” 1673
“superiority” 1669

Dominants[edit | edit source]

Synonyms for “dominant” together with their category of most common usage are

Synonyms for "dominant"[8]
Synonym Category Number Category Title
“a superior” 36 SUPERIORITY
“chief” 747 MASTER
“controlling” 739 GOVERNMENT
“influential” 171 INFLUENCE
“most important” 670 IMPORTANCE
“music” 461 MUSIC
“musical note” 462 HARMONICS
“note” 528 ATTENTION
“ruling” 996 LEGALITY

where the categories 36, 171, 462, 670, and 739, and words "note", "music", "chief", "influential", "most important", and "ruling" are actually listed.[8]

The overlap in synonymy between “majority” and “dominant” is categories 36 and 747. Although many of the others could be used in description to construct stipulative definitions.

In Mosby's Medical Dictionary definition that a dominant group is "a social group that controls the value system and rewards in a particular society."[9] is a synonym for "ruling": "controls", which is a verb form of "controlling". Although this synonym is absent from "need not be a numerical majority (although it often will be)."[10], there is the question of what's defining a dominant group when it's not the majority?

Both the current lexical definition and some as yet unfound earlier lexical definition from which the current one may have been precised appear to have problems. Both problems are matters of synonymy. The most common usage of "dominant" and thereby the most likely category to find the closest synonyms to exact synonyms is in category "171. INFLUENCE"[8]. For "majority" this is category "100. PLURALITY"[8]. The further away from exact synonymy the category is, the less exact relatively is the synonymy. This suggests that terms outside category 171 may be okay for lexical definitions as the one in Mosby's Medical Dictionary of dominant group using "controls". The same for some earlier unfound lexical definition using "majority", category 100.

This degree of relative synonymy also allows an answer to "what's defining a dominant group when it's not the majority?" An answer is in the synonyms for "majority", especially in category 100, but especially not in categories 36 or 747 because of the overlap in relative synonymy. Yet, here again both categories 36 and 747 are relatively away from categories 100 and 171 in meaning. These could be used in precising or theoretical definitions.

With relative synonymy instead of exact synonymy, relative synonyms may be useable in a genus–differentia definition.

Groups[edit | edit source]

This same approach of relative synonymy should be applied to the word "group". Although use within dominant group suggests that "group" is a noun, "group" can be used as a verb.

Synonyms for "group"[8] nouns
Synonym Category Number Category Title
“company” 74 ASSEMBLAGE
Synonyms for "group"[8] verbs (group, grouped, grouping)
“arrange” 60 ARRANGEMENT
“classify” 61 CLASSIFICATION
“assemble” 74 ASSEMBLAGE
“size” 194 SIZE
“painting” (for "grouping") 572 ART

Relative synonyms[edit | edit source]

With a two-word term, genus classes (or categories[8]) may consist of three varieties:

  1. category1 + category2,
  2. "dominant" + category2, or
  3. category1 + "group".

Here "category1" refers to any category of relative synonyms for "dominant" (adjective or noun), and "category2" is the same for "group" (noun or verb).

The added possibilities of "group" as a verb suggests usages like "dominantly grouped", with the adverb "dominantly", or "dominant grouping".

These variations in part due to analyzing a two-word term allow additional possibilities to consider in forming genus differentia definitions.

The term dominant group appears to be used to identify entities of importance. The genera differentia for possible definitions of dominant group fall into the following set of orderable pairs:

Genera differentia for dominant group.[8]
Synonym for "dominant" Category Number Category Title Synonym for "group" Category Number Catgeory Title
“superior” 36 SUPERIORITY "arrangement" 60 ARRANGEMENT
“influential” 171 INFLUENCE "class" 61 CLASSIFICATION
“musical note” 462 HARMONICS "assembly" 74 ASSEMBLAGE
“most important” 670 IMPORTANCE "size" 194 SIZE
“governing” 739 GOVERNMENT "painting", "grouping" 572 ART
"master" 747 MASTER "association", "set" 786 ASSOCIATION
----- --- ------- "sect" 1018 RELIGIONS, CULTS, SECTS

'Orderable' means that any synonym from within the first category can be ordered with any synonym from the second category to form an alternate term for dominant group; for example, "superior class", "influential sect", "master assembly", "most important group", and "dominant painting". "Dominant" falls into category 171. "Group" is in category 61. Further, any word which has its most or much more common usage within these categories may also form an alternate term, such as "ruling group", where "ruling" has its most common usage in category 739, or "dominant party", where "party" is in category 74. "Taxon" or "taxa" are like "species" in category 61. "Society" is in category 786 so there is a "dominant society".

"A related, but separate, definition relies on a linguistic identity that differs from that of the dominant society [5]."[11]

Synonym popularity[edit | edit source]

Popularity for synonyms of dominant group.[8]
Synonym Google scholar Google web Altavista Lycos Yahoo Bing
"control classification" 3,800 189,000 54,000 53,900 53,900 52,800
"control group" 2,010,000 20,600,000 6,290,000 6,340,000 6,070,000 6,440,000
"controlling group" 4,350 168,000 22,700 22,700 21,900 22,000
"despotic assemblage" 7 48 9 10 10 10
"despotic class" 30 777 53 54 53 54
"despotic group" 39 1,540 141 140 141 140
"dominance group" 789 17,900 10,800 10,800 10,800 11,900
"dominant arrangement" 332 3,830 7,730 7,780 7,730 7,770
"dominant assemblage" 483 4,170 1,410 1,400 1,410 1,370
"dominant assembly" 292 3,920 5,040 5,040 5,040 5,680
"dominant association" 1,160 11,600 14,200 14,300 14,200 13,900
"dominant category" 3,830 57,000 3,030 3,220 3,400 3,270
"dominant class" 31,200 198,000 51,300 49,500 51,100 50,000
"dominant classification" 506 13,000 3,870 3,960 3,980 5,750
"dominant cult" 167 8,250 11,500 11,900 11,500 12,600
"dominant family" 6,220 52,000 20,400 20,040 20,400 20,600
"dominant firm" 13,100 130,000 25,500 26,500 25,500 27,600
"dominant genus" 3,070 24,700 5,690 5,720 5,500 8,590
"dominant genera" 3,950 32,900 11,600 11,500 11,600 11,600
"dominant group" 72,900 522,000 133,000 133,000 134,000 134,000
"dominant grouping" 366 6,450 5,500 5,500 5,370 6,660
"dominant painting" 51 4,200 6,350 6,350 6,570 6,350
"dominant party" 20,700 371,000 99,200 97,900 99,300 100,000
"dominant religion" 11,000 70,500 566,000 552,000 580,000 573,000
"dominant school" 5,230 63,800 24,500 24,500 24,600 24,000
"dominant sect" 547 19,600 22,800 22,800 23,800 22,300
"dominant set" 5,460 47,800 10,600 10,600 10,700 10,700
"dominants group" 27 1,380 38 38 39 38
"dominant size" 3,550 23,200 5,580 7,900 5,710 7,820
"dominant society" 24,700 184,000 40,200 40,000 40,500 40,700
"dominant species" 173,000 1,490,000 956,000 956,000 956,000 959,000
"dominant team" 902 400,000 486,000 486,000 474,000 476,000
"dominant type" 30,500 392,000 73,400 72,600 72,500 73,800
"dominating group" 2,300 149,000 12,600 12,600 13,100 13,000
“governing party” 20,200 117,000 305,000 305,000 308,000 306,000
“harmonic group” 529 45,200 7,450 7,450 7,410 8,480
"hegemonic class" 1,740 9,960 8,590 8,590 9,090 9,160
"higher class" 30,600 3,020,000 978,000 977,000 974,000 972,000
"higher type" 18,300 259,000 41,200 41,300 41,400 41,600
"important group" 108,000 1,260,000 337,000 337,000 341,000 333,000
"influential classification" 421 7,120 4,510 4,650 4,510 4,640
"influential group" 13,000 428,000 106,000 106,000 106,000 106,000
“influential sect” 160 8,270 27,000 26,500 27,000 25,800
"influential set" 1,650 76,000 9,460 9,510 9,340 9,520
"influential size" 49 1,660 155 150 155 155
"major group" 61,800 1,140,000 599,000 606,000 596,000 611,000
"majority group" 30,500 1,290,000 69,400 69,300 69,500 69,500
"master class" 13,500 14,800,000 29,100,000 27,800,000 28,000,000 27,600,000
"master group" 1,530 106,000 553,000 593,000 558,000 572,000
“most important group” 18,600 5,360,000 41,700 41,800 41,500 42,100
"most important interests" 2,450 994,000 26,600 26,300 26,600 26,200
"patrician class" (3/15/15) 2,130 44,000 75,200 no longer available 75,200 75,200
"predominant group" 5,760 60,100 13,900 13,700 13,900 13,900
"power group" 21,100 4,590,000 1,140,000 1,130,000 1,140,000 1,150,000
"ruling class" 67,300 4,110,000 5,840,000 5,840,000 5,920,000 5,900,000
"ruling group" 12,900 156,000 45,900 45,900 48,000 47,300
“superior class” 7,790 428,000 112,000 112,000 110,000 112,000
“superior group” 4,860 1,290,000 252,000 252,000 250,000 148,000
"superior size" 3,060 450,000 33,800 33,800 33,800 32,900
"upper class" 338,000 13,000,000 14,300,000 14,200,000 14,200,000 14,300,000
"upper department" 235 25,400 8,390 8,390 8,390 9,390
"upper group" 12,700 246,000 39,700 40,600 40,600 40,300

Classicus[edit | edit source]

The most common use for classicus found (3/15/15) on Google Scholar and Google Web is as part of locus classicus, or a type locality.

Master class[edit | edit source]

Def. "a small class for advanced students, especially a class in performance skills conducted by a distinguished musician"[12] is called a master class.

Def. "a class (especially in music) given to talented students by an expert"[13] is called a master class.

Def. "[a] class, typically in a performing art such as music or drama, in which a teacher listens to and critiques the performance of individual students, one at a time, while the other students look on"[14] is called a master class.

Upper class[edit | edit source]

Def. "a class of people above the middle class, having the highest social rank or standing based on wealth, family connections, and the like"[15] is called an upper class.

Def. "the class occupying the highest position in the social hierarchy, esp the wealthy or the aristocracy"[16] is called an upper class in Sociology.


  1. "those people at the top of a social hierarchy" or
  2. "the aristocracy"[17]

are called an upper class.

Hypotheses[edit | edit source]

  1. The earliest concept behind dominant group in humans is the group allowed to have children.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Irving M. Copi (1955). Introduction to Logic. New York: The MacMillan Company. pp. 472. 
  2. Eva Brems (2001). Human Rights: Universality and Diversity. pp. 334. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  3. "Synonym, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. September 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 James W. Moore (May 2009). "The Logic of Definition". Technical Note: 17. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  5. Markus Widmer (June 30, 2003). Methods of Lexicographic Definition in the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary. GRIN Verlag. pp. 35. ISBN 978-3-638-20085-1. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  6. Tadeja Rozman (April 1, 2008). Mother-tongue's Little Helper (The Use of the Monolingual Dictionary of Slovenian in School), In: Euralex Proceedings: Euralex2008. Euralex. pp. 1317-24. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  7. W. Kent Wilson (January 1, 1997). The Essentials of Logic. Piscataway, New Jersey: Research & Education Association. pp. 146. ISBN 0-87891-061-1. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 Peter Mark Roget (1969). Lester V. Berrey and Gorton Carruth. ed. Roget's International Thesaurus, third edition. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. pp. 1258. 
  9. Farlex (2009). "The Free Dictionary by Farlex: Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition". Elsevier. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  10. Eric D. Knowles, Kaiping Peng (August 2005). "White selves: conceptualizing and measuring a dominant-group identity". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 89 (2): 223-41. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.89.2.223. 
  11. Mariam Naqshbandi, Stewart B. Harris, James G. Esler, Fred Antwi-Nsiah (October 2008). "Global complication rates of type 2 diabetes in Indigenous peoples: A comprehensive review". Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 82 (1): 1-17. doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2008.07.017. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  12. Random House (2012). "master class noun, based on the Random House Dictionary". Random House. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  13. Princeton University (2012). "master class, In: Princeton's WordNet". Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  14. IP address (23 March 2007). "master class, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  15. Random House (2012). "upper class noun, based on the Random House Dictionary". Random House. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
  16. Harper Collins (2012). upper class, In: Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. Retrieved 2012-04-06. 
  17. "upper class". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-15.

External links[edit | edit source]