Semantics is the study of the meanings created by words and phrases (see also pragmatics - the study of the way context can infer or imply extra meanings and so add to their semantic value or content). Writers often play with the semantics of words to entertain or intrigue a reader - examples are when a writer uses irony, simile, metaphor or hyperbole (called figurative language). An important area of semantics is idiomatic language .

» Linguistic Library (Mike Green)