Sweetening WORDNET with DOLCE

  • Aldo Gangemi
  • Nicola Guarino
  • Claudio Masolo
  • Alessandro Oltramari


Despite its original intended use, which was very different, WORDNET is used more and more today as an ontology, where the hyponym relation between word senses is interpreted as a subsumption relation between concepts. In this article, we discuss the general problems related to the semantic interpretation of WORDNET taxonomy in light of rigorous ontological principles inspired by the philosophical tradition. Then we introduce the DOLCE upper-level ontology, which is inspired by such principles but with a clear orientation toward language and cognition. We report the results of an experimental effort to align WORDNET's upper level with DOLCE. We suggest that such alignment could lead to an "ontologically sweetened" WORDNET, meant to be conceptually more rigorous, cognitively transparent, and efficiently exploitable in several applications.