Major advances in our understanding of word meanings have come out of cognitive anthropology. In cognitive anthropology semantics refers to the ways in which words are defined in structural linguistics and in the anthropology that grew out of it. Classically, semantic categories were considered – by early cognitive anthropologists and those others who strove for rigorous formal semantic definitions – to be bounded, “all and only” chunks of semantic space. Prototypic referents are what terms are presumed to refer to in the absence of other information, and it is only to them that “essential properties” of the words necessarily apply. In this prototype-extension approach to semantics, a distinctive feature semantic analysis applies to the prototypic referents of contrasting terms, but not necessarily to extended referents. Language only gets involved when we need to verbally communicate.