The meaning of a word - its linguistic essence, so to speak- is encapsulated in its dictionary definition. Can one learn more about a word by repeating this process? In "Dictionary Symphony" in the August 1990 issue, Dave Morice proposed replacing the essential words in a definition (typically the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) with their definitions, to create a second-level definition that would enhance the first-level one. In turn, the words used in the second-level definition can each be replaced with their definitions, and so on.
Eckler, A. Ross
Word Ways: Vol. 46
, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/wordways/vol46/iss1/2