See also figurative language; surplus meaning.
1. In semantics, a meaning which is not intended to be taken literally.
2. In the comprehension of figurative language, the nonliteral purport: what a particular figurative expression is actually intended to signify. The literal meaning of the message is not the intended meaning, which has to be inferred. For instance, we might infer that ‘film is a mirror’ implies that it is a reflection of life. Deconstructionists challenge the distinction between literal and metaphoric meaning: all language is metaphorical and there is no underlying literal level.