Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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From scratch[edit]

The algorithmic elements of defining a word, starting from scratch, are:

  1. Identify the distinct etymologies, if any.
  2. Identify the distinct parts of speech, allowing for some ambiguity among some grammaticized words.
    1. Define any monosemic Ety/PoSs.
  3. Identify distinct inflection or other proximate grammatical feature (eg, countability/uncountability, lack of inflection, mandatory determiner).
    1. Define these terms.
  4. Use a modern corpus to find collocations, starting with those that might disclose distinct syntax (eg for nouns: determiners with nouns; for verbs: prepositions)

From existing definitions[edit]

A more practical approach is probably to start with definitions already in Wiktionary, then:

  1. check talk page, rfc, tr, archives.
  2. read definitions for intelligibility.
  3. add usage examples.
  4. check Webster 1913 and Century for omissions.
  5. split by ety.
  6. check PoSs.
  7. RfV and RfD senses as appropriate.
  8. split senses as appropriate.
  9. check for distinct syntax.
  10. split synonyms lists as appropriate.
  11. check completeness of derived terms.
  12. check derived terms for phrases that use senses not clearly in existing senses.
    1. define those senses.
  13. note or label: literal, figurative, generalized, specialized senses, also contexts.
  14. note or label: spatial, temporal realms; causation; event structure; subject, object types etc.
  15. identify possible gaps.
    1. check for attestation of such gaps, using collocations.
    2. define senses for gaps.
  16. missing PoSs?
    1. define missing PoSs.
  17. check most obvious grammatical collocation types on corpus to determine whether covered by existing senses.
    1. define missing senses.
  18. check less obvious semantic collocation types on corpus
    1. define missing senses.
  19. examine all senses for duplication, wording.