Relative term

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A relative term is a term that makes two or more distinct references to objects (which may be the same object, for example in "The Morning Star is the Evening Star"). A relative term is typically expressed in ordinary language by means of a phrase with explicit or implicit blanks. Examples:

  • __ loves __
  • __ is the same object as __
  • __ is giver of __ to __.

The word is is a relative term when it expresses identity.

The colloquial meaning for a relative term is that it is different for different people or situations. An example: someone who is 5 feet tall might think someone who is 5 feet six inches tall is tall, but someone who is 6 feet would think that that person is short. An atom is big compared to a quark, but it is very small when compared to a body cell. Fast food may be healthier than preserved food, but unhealthy compared to organic produce.

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