This paper offers an overview of the historical trends and characteristics of lexical semantics, taking as the subject of the study historical-philological semantics, structuralist semantics, generative semantics, neostructuralist semantics and cognitive semantics, while broadly examining aspects of accommodation and development of lexical semantics in the field of Korean philology. The main contents are as follows. First, historical-philological semantics, spanning from 1830 to 1930, was a historical approach to lexical semantics, which placed an emphasis on the dynamic qualities and psychological aspects of individual lexical meaning. Research in this area conducted by Korean linguists flourished in the 1960s and remains incomplete. Second, structuralist semantics, which began in the 1930s, takes a synchronic perspective, seeing meaning and its structure as an autonomous system. Its primary mechanisms include lexical field theory, componential analysis, and relational semantics. Relevant research conducted by Korean linguists was at its height between the 1970s and the 1990s, and has been successful in the accommodation of lexical semantics. Third, generative semantics is the result of the merging of structuralist analysis with Generative Grammar, as performed by Katz and Fodor from the late 1960s to the 1970s. Research in this area in Korea was prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, but has not succeeded in proving that this approach is appropriate to Korean linguistics. Fourth, neostructuralist semantics began in the 1990s, taking its origins in structuralist semantics, and then following its own unique course. The decompositional approach includes Natural Semantic Metalanguage, Conceptual Semantics, Generative Lexicon, and Two-Level Semantics, while the relational approach includes WordNet, meaning-text theory/lexical function, and distributional corpus analysis. Relevant research conducted in the Korean linguistics society in the 2000s has achieved significant success by adopting these methods to polysemy, synonym and corpus analysis. Fifth, cognitive semantics, which started in the 1980s as a reaction to the objective world-view and truth-conditional semantics, regards conceptual structure as embodiment, the representation of meaning as being encyclopedic, the conception of meaning as conceptualization, and the process of conceptualization as construal. The primary mechanisms of cognitive semantics include prototype theory, conceptual metaphor and metonymy, the Idealized Cognitive Model and frame semantics. Research in this area conducted by Korean academics from the 1990s up to the present day has produced a change in perception, through the application of this approach to the analysis of meaning, the extension of meaning, figures of speech, change of meaning, and semantic education. In conclusion, in the history of lexical semantics, historical- philological semantics has developed into cognitive semantics, while structuralist semantics has been succeeded by generative semantics and neostructuralist semantics. Domestically, Korean linguists have adopted these theories, contributing to an expansion of the horizon of lexical semantics.