The paper deals with principles of arrangement of meanings of a polysemic word in a dictionary. Several complex examples (srazu, pol’e, krugozor) are analyzed. Lexicographical description can be arranged according to two different principles: either hierarchization of meanings according to the direction of semantical derivation, or ranking of meanings on the basis of their usage frequency and related characteristics (completeness of grammatical paradigm, collocation range, stylistic neutrality, etc.). It is shown in the paper that in some cases these principles are in conflict. Systemic representation of word polysemy can be obtained only on the basis of the first principle. The second principle can be useful in applied (e.g. computational) lexicography.