Definitions refers to textual descriptions or explanations of words provided in natural language. There are challenges of natural language understanding models when dealing with words that are infrequently encountered or were not seen during pretraining of subword embeddings.

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Overcoming Poor Word Embeddings with Word Definitions

Overcoming Poor Word Embeddings with Word Definitions Modern natural language understanding models depend on pretrained subword embeddings, but applications may need to reason about words that were never or rarely seen during pretraining. We show that examples that depend critically on a rarer word are more challenging for natural language inference models. Then we explore how a model could learn to use definitions, provided in natural text, to overcome this handicap. Our model’s understanding of a definition is usually weaker than a well-modeled word embedding, but it recovers most of the performance gap from using a completely untrained word.