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Family-resemblance is a term invented by Wittgenstein to indicate the relationship between the many uses of a word, like "game" or "number." In these cases, and by extension many abstract words, there is no simple essence that applies to all instances of a word, but an overlapping set of similarities.

The metaphor is based in the resemblances of various members of a family. Some may have a characteristic nose, hair, or walk, or laugh. It is not necessary all members share one family trait in order for us to recognize them as family members.

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