Theorising about lexical modulation is guided by the assumption that words express concepts which in turn have extensions. In this framework lexical modulation is taken to be the narrowing/broadening of the extension of a concept. We argue that there are cases of lexical modulation that cannot be explained in terms of the guiding assumption about meaning. Lexical modulation, it turns out, is a more general phenomenon that can only be fully captured on a different view of meaning and understanding. In this paper we make first steps to identify such a view, suggesting that understanding a word is a matter of being immersed into a practice to the extent that one can (reasonably) intend to convey to conform with previous usage. We sketch analyses in this framework of loose use, Travis cases, metaphors, and cross-categorial uses.