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Lexicography is divided into two separate but equally important groups:

  • Practical lexicography is the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries.
  • Theoretical lexicography is the scholarly discipline of analyzing and describing the semantic, syntagmatic, and paradigmatic relationships within the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language, developing theories of dictionary components and structures linking the data in dictionaries, the needs for information by users in specific types of situations, and how users may best access the data incorporated in printed and electronic dictionaries. This is sometimes referred to as 'metalexicography'.

There is some disagreement on the definition of lexicology, as distinct from lexicography. Some use "lexicology" as a synonym for theoretical lexicography; others use it to mean a branch of linguistics pertaining to the inventory of words in a particular language.

A person devoted to lexicography is called a lexicographer.[1]