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Anvitabidhanavada is a theory of word meaning propounded by Prabhakara, a Mimamsaka of word meaning. Words constitute a sentence. Such words have their own meanings. When they combine in a complete sentence, the sentence as a whole acquires a meaning of its own.

Hindu philosophers raise a question here – Do the constituent words in a sentence  convey their own individual meaning also? Or do they convey the meaning of the sentence also?

Those who hold the first view say that the meaning of a sentence is arrived at by putting together the individual meanings of its constituent words. This view is called Abhihitanvayavada or putting together anvaya, the individual word meanings or abhihita, of the sentence. Those who maintain the second view believe that words in a sentence perform a two-fold function – signifying their own individual meaning on the one hand and signifying the sentence-meaning as a whole. This view is known as anvitabidhanavada which considers the meaning of the words (abhidhana) to be related (Anvita).

Prabhakara, a teacher of Mimamsa School, holds the second theory, Anvita-abhidhanavada, while Advaitins, Naiyayikas and the followers of Kumarila adopt the first theory, the Abhihitanvayavada.

The reason why Prabhakara held the view was that only prescriptive statements (either in scripture or in ordinary language) which enjoin actions are meaningful, while merely descriptive statements of facts are meaningless, unless they serve the ends of the prescriptive injunctions. Hence, all the words in a statement must be related to the verb in the sentence as a whole. So, the words in a sentence have their own meanings but are related to the central verb enjoining an act which is the meaning of the sentence as a whole.