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Definitions from PD sources for this challenging word "same":

  • Webster 1913:
    • 1. Not different or other; not another or others; identical; unchanged.
    • 2. Of like kind, species, sort, dimensions, or the like; not differing in character or in the quality or qualities compared; corresponding; not discordant; similar; like.
    • 3. Just mentioned, or just about to be mentioned.
  • Century 1911:
    • 1. Identical numerically; one in substance; not other; always preceded by the definite article or other definitive word (this or that). In this sense, same is predicable only of substances (things or persons), or of other kinds of objects which, having individuality, are for the purposes of speech analogous to individual things, especially places and times. It is a relative term, implying that what comes to mind in one connection and what comes to mind in another connection are one individual or set of individuals in existence.
    • 2. Of one nature or general character; of one kind, degree or amount: as, we see in men everywhere the same passions and the same vices; two flames that are the same in temperature; two bodies of the same dimensions; boxes that occupy the same space. Same, used in this way, expresses less a different meaning from def. 1, than a different (and often loose) mode of thinking; the thought is often that of equality rather than that of identity.
    • 3. Just mentioned, or just about to be mentioned or denoted: often used for the sake of emphasis or to indicate contempt or vexation.


--Dan Polansky 10:16, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

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Rfd-redundant: The sense "Used to express the unity of an object or person which has various different descriptions or qualities" seems redundant to "Not different or other; not another or others; not different as regards self; selfsame; numerically identical". The latter (#1 in the entry) has recently been created by me out of the sense "identical", based on the preexisting example sentences.

The senses with example sentences, for immediate context:

  1. Not different or other; not another or others; not different as regards self; selfsame; numerically identical.
    Are you the same person who phoned me yesterday?
    I realised I was the same age as my grandfather had been when he joined the air force.
    Even if the twins are identical, they are still not the same person, unlike Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens.
    Peter and Anna went to the same high school: the high school to which Peter went is the high school to which Anna went.
  2. Similar, alike.
    You have the same hair I do!
  3. {{rfd-redundant}} Used to express the unity of an object or person which has various different descriptions or qualities.
    Round here it can be cloudy and sunny even in the same day.
    We were all going in the same direction.

The sense #1 is formulated basically on the model of Webster 1913.

My estimate of redundancy is based not only on the wording of definitions but also on the example sentences. --Dan Polansky 13:55, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Sense 2 ("same hair") is redundant. The difference between 1 and 3 seems to be whether the word is applied to two things or only one (rainy and sunny in the same day — the same as what?). Equinox 14:25, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that the sense 2 is redundant; it is the sense 3 that I think redundant. I can go to the same (selfsame) school as you do, or work on the same wiki project, but I cannot have the selfsame hair. The hair is only qualitatively same but not numerically; each atom of my hair is absent in your hair, no matter how similar our hair can be. When I get a haircut, you can keep your long hair. My hair and your hair are two distinct objects. --Dan Polansky 15:59, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Right, but what Equinox said about senses 1 and 3 seems correct. The question IMO then is whether that means that we should list them as separate senses. Certainly the list of words that can be substituted for same differs between sense 1 and sense 3: "the person who phoned", "the age my grandfather had been", but not "cloudy and sunny in the day" nor "going in the direction". That said, I still don't know. Anyone with ideas? (See also [[talk:coprime]], but this case seems to me to be more two-sense-worthy than that.)​—msh210 (talk) 16:13, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
An example sentence that would better fit the formulation of the sense 3 would be this: The person who wrote On Denoting is the same person as the one who wrote The Problems of Philosophy. Here were have two specifications or definite descriptions that identify the same person. Nonetheless, I think this example sentence fits well to the sense 1. --Dan Polansky 16:05, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
So perhaps if sense 3 is kept it should be reworded? The Russell sentence seems to apply to sense 1, as Dan notes. Sense 3 can be something like "one"  :-) .​—msh210 (talk) 16:17, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) I see what you mean, in the reply you gave above your immediately preceding reply. We could have more senses that are only one sense semantically, if the senses differ significantly in the grammar of their use. This would mean that the third and fourth example sentences (Identical twins, Peter and Anna) that I have added to sense 1 would be moved to sense 3. And you're right: the term "one" replaces nicely "the same" in We were all going in the same direction, although it works not so great for the Peter and Anna sentence. I am not sure having distinct sense lines is the best option, but it is at least a plausible one. --Dan Polansky 16:54, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I think there are three senses here, just not everso well defined or usex-ed. Everyone agrees 2 is separate (I think), but defining it as "similar" seems way off to me and misses the point; I would say "having identical characteristics or attributes" which makes a better connection with the primary senses. Of the other two, one is about stating an identity between two (or more) things ("The Romans considered Zeus to be the same god as their Jupiter", "I left school at the same age you did"), and a second thing or clause has to be mentioned; whereas the second is about expressing the individual identity of a single thing ("Zeus and Jupiter are the same god", "we both left school at the same age"), a usage which didn't appear until some four centuries later. Ƿidsiþ 16:48, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    I tend to agree with you about sense 2: "similar" stands in contrast to "same". When I say that two things have the same color, they do not need to have absolutely the same color, but to say that their color is similar is much weaker. But the formulation "having identical characteristics or attributes" seem to apply poorly to colors, unless you construe colors as having characteristics or attributes, which you can do: a color has hue, saturation and intensity. When two things have the same shape, is it that the shapes are having identical characteristics or attributes? Sameness of colors and shapes seems tricky to me. --Dan Polansky 17:06, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    I think "same color" uses sense 1 of same: identical. (It may be an exaggeration of "identical'.) It's not sense 2, which is saying thatthe two things are actually different objects but match one another somehow: "you and I have the same hair", "I have the same briefcase as he". The colors are identical (or close to it), whereas the briefcases are copies churned out by the same designer and the hair is merely done identically.​—msh210 (talk) 17:39, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    "Same color" uses identical for sure, but in which sense of "identical"? Are you saying that "the two apples have the same color" uses the sense of numerically identical AKA selfsame? I guess it makes some sense, at least grammatically: the color is in singular. OTOH, in "they have a different color", there is also color in singular. --Dan Polansky 18:28, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    Yes.​—msh210 (talk) 19:05, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    I think one or both of you are missing the point (well, my point anyway). "Same colour" could be either sense depending on what the sentence does. "This apple is the same colour as that one" is sense one (above), whereas "These two apples have the same colour" is sense 3. The issue is that in sense 1 x is the same AS or WHICH or WITH y, whereas in sense 3 x and y are simply the same one thing. They seem similar but the underlying sense is different and the second was a much later development in English. Ƿidsiþ 19:50, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    I was merely commenting on the impossibility of its being of sense 2. I certainly don't doubt you on the etymology, but am still not sure it warrants a separate sense, though I think so, as I noted at 16:13, 15 November 2010 (UTC), above.​—msh210 (talk) 20:10, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    See also [[talk:coprime]].​—msh210 (talk) 17:16, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
    (Unindent): Thanks, there are the two separate senses for coprime, exemplified by (a) 24 and 35 are coprime, and (b) 24 is coprime to 35. I do not think I would have kept two senses only because of two separate grammars. In any case, the analogy with coprime seems very fitting. As regards "same", the duplication of senses because of different grammar will need to occur for both major senses: numerically same, qualitatively same. What about "in love": "A and B are in love" while "A is in love with B"; well, yes, in love has two senses. And "A and B are equal" while "A is equal to B"; "A and B are similar" while "A is similar to B"; "A and B are equivalent" while "A is equivalent to B"; "A and B are identical" while "A is identical to B" (duplication for at least two senses); "A and B are analogous" while "A is analogous to B"; similarly for "homologous", "indistinguishable", "coextensive", maybe "congruous" and "incongruous"; basically all sorts of adjectives referring to symmetric dyadic relations. Hm. --Dan Polansky 18:00, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
    One more note: It seems better to me to place this sort of grammar information to a usage note than to senses. The grammatical sugar is basically this: "A and B are <monadic adjective>" usually means "A is <monadic adjective> and B is <monadic adjective>", while "A and B are <dyadic adjective>" often means "A is <dyadic adjective> to or with B". I have checked dictionaries at OneLook, and most of them do not split senses by this grammatical distinction.
    One more find (there are probably many): related. --Dan Polansky 18:23, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
    The point I thought I made is that this "grammatical" difference is a historical difference (this is not the case with "coprime" or "related"). That may not seem important to you, but it represents a very different way of thinking about the concept, and if we had more citations that would be clear. Ƿidsiþ 14:58, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
    It is not clear to me that the historical development of "the same" you are referring to has brought a new sense rather than a new sort of syntactic sugar for dyadic adjectives. If such a historical development cannot so easily be traced for adjectives like "related", "similar", or "analogous" (I do not know whether it can or cannot), it is probably because their grammar has been modeled on the grammar of "the same". --Dan Polansky 16:29, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

kept. -- Prince Kassad 09:35, 16 March 2011 (UTC)