‘semantics’ is the study of MEANING in LANGAUGE. In the following sentences the meanings of the word ‘mean’, for example, are completely different.
1- I don’t know what you mean.
2- The word means what I choose it to mean.
3- She is very mean.
4- These are means of success.
5- These are means of success.
In these examples though meanings are affected by speaker’s will, each of them has specific meaning carried by words themselves. The aim of serous semanticists is to explain and clarify the nature of meaning. In other words semantics deals with those aspects of meaning which are determined by the language system, rather than those which reflect the will of individual speakers and the circumstances of use.
Further reading Hurford & Heasley 1996; Lyons 1996; Kreidler 1998; Löbner 2002