noun, Linguistics.
the analysis of a set of related linguistic items, especially word meanings, into combinations of features in terms of which each item may be compared with every other, as in the analysis of man into the semantic features “male,” “mature,” and “human,” woman into “female,” “mature,” and “human,” girl into “female,” “immature,” and “human,” and bull into “male,” “mature,” and “bovine.”.

in linguistics, the analysis of aspects of language into contrastive components or distinctive features
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