The impression one initially has of lexicology is rather diffuse. As a discipline, it suffers from the fate of either not being noticed at all - on account of sub-disciplines, such as lexicography, morphology and lexical semantics, which are already well established in their own right - or of being itself broken down into semi-independent sub-disciplines such as phraseology and mental lexicon. It is against this background that the handbook identifies and deals with the following aims for academic progression and practical/theoretical research: - the establishment and maintenance of an independent profile for the discipline of lexicology - the collection and documentation of up-to-date knowledge in the field of lexicology - the documentation of research still out-standing and the provision of guidelines on concrete fields of study. The handbook starts off with the two main sections 'word' and 'vocabulary'. The sense relations act as the threads which bind these two sections together, because their ability to link words in pairs allows us to make successive inroads into the vocabulary. Moving from the term 'word' to the term 'lexical element' forces us into a more detailed investigation of phraseology. Detailed treatments of each of the ways of looking at 'vocabulary' are provided, in view of the ambiguity of the term 'vocabulary' (vocabulary in its relation to a natural language vs. vocabulary in its relation to an individual [mental lexicon] vs. vocabulary in its relation to grammar [lexicon]). Similarly, synchronic and diachronic points of view are taken into account, in order to be able to arrive at an adequate description of the underlying dynamics of the vocabulary of natural languages. In conclusion the present state of lexicology made it necessary to deal thoroughly with questions about the discipline, its methodology and its links with related disciplines.