The present invention is directed to characterizing the sense of an occurrence of a polysemous word in a representation of a dictionary. In a preferred embodiment, the representation of the dictionary is made up of a plurality of text segments containing word occurrences having a word sense characterization and word occurrences not having a word sense characterization. The embodiment first selects a plurality of the dictionary text segments that each contain a first word. The embodiment then identifies from among the selected text segments a first and a second occurrence of a second word. The identified second occurrence of the second word has a word sense characterization. The embodiment then attributes to the first occurrence of the second word sense characterization of the second occurrence of the second word.