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The material that surrounds an item which helps define its meaning. (Arbib)
The environment of something that establishes or classifies its meaning (Arbib). In linguistics, the environment of a particular word may disambiguate the meaning of that word, e.g., the word "play" in "I saw a play" vs. "I play the guitar". In communication, the context of a situation, which is comprised of all non-linguistic constraints including the social roles ascribed to the communicators, specifies the information of what is said relative to what could be said. In biology, the environment of an organism is similarly crucial in understanding what the organism does (see general systems theory). In cybernetics, text" and context are two complementary components (the subsystems) of one system each of which could be considered to constitute or define the other's meaning. (Krippendorff)
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