Monday, December 4, 2017


Many words with multiple meanings exist in the English language. Technically, almost every word has a multiple meaning. How often do you go into the dictionary to look up a word, and find that only one meaning is listed next to it? Practically never!! Many words have slightly varying meanings, or they can be used as different parts of speech. However, I will primarily focus on words that have multiple meanings in a broader sense.

Basic Definitions

When we start talking about words with multiple meanings, there are some basic definitions that we need to discuss first. Those definitions are the ones attached to homonyms, homophones, and homographs.
·       Homonyms are words which have the same spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings.

·      Homophones are words which have the same pronunciation, but different spellings and meanings.

·      Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but have different pronunciations and meanings.

Here are some examples:


·       crane: She had to crane her neck to see the crane at the zoo.
·       date: Joe took Jane on a date to the health food restaurant, where they were served dates.
·       engaged: Everyone was very engaged in watching the lovers get engaged.
·       leaves: The children play in the piles of leaves when their mother leaves for work.
·       net: When the fisherman got a new net, his net gain increased sharply.
·       point: The pencil has a sharp point, it is not polite to point it at people.
·       right: You were right, make a right turn at the light.
·       rose: He quickly rose from his seat to declare that his favorite flower was a rose.
·       type: He can type over 100 words per minute, even though that's not really his type of work.
  stamp: He stamped the stamp with his fist to make sure it stayed on the envelope.
  dishes: The catering company offered many tasty dishes served on beautiful dishes.
  park: The park was so crowded there was no place to park.
  sink: The naughty boy loved to sink his brother's toy ships in the sink.


·         ate/eight
·         alter/altar
·         band/banned
·         buy/bye/by
·         red/read
·         blew/blue
·         boar/bore
·         canon/cannon
·         coarse/course
·         fair/fare
·         genes/jeans
·         foul/fowl
·         grate/great
·         in/inn
·         hour/our
·         knight/night
·         no/know
·         nose/knows
·         maize/maze
·         meddle/metal
·         sea/see
·         role/roll
·         their/there/they’re
·         veil/vale


·         read: She is going to read the book later, even though she read it before.
·         bass: He sang in a bass voice when he caught a bass.
·         bow: She put a bow in her daughter's hair before she let her bow down to the emperor.
·         minute: Wait a minute, that is only a minute problem.
·         learned: The class learned that their teacher was a very learned individual.
·         sewer: The rats crept through the sewer's sewer.
·         wound: She got a wound when she wound up the toy.
·         wind: The wind is blowing, but you still have to wind the clock up before you go to bed.
·         sow: If we sow the seeds now, the sow will eat them.
    refuse: The trash company refused the latest shipment of refuse. 
          (Adapted from grammar.yourdictionary.com)

Now that my hearing isn't what it used to be, 
I often feel like Emily Litella 
(a SNL character played by Gilda Radner):

To watch a couple of her routines, click here and also here.

Other misheard topics to which Litella responded included "saving Soviet jewelry" (Jewry), "endangered feces" (species), "sax & violins on television" (sex & violence), "presidential erections" (elections), “deaf penalty” (death penalty), "conserving natural racehorses" (natural resources), "firing the handicapped" (hiring), and "making Puerto Rico a steak" (state).   About the last of these topics, she complained, "Next thing you know, they'll want a baked potato with sour cream!"

Since you've been such good students & completely understand today's English lesson, I'm going to post twice as many cartoons as usual:

On a different note, I saw this in Elephant's Child's blog on Saturday.  She lives in Australia.  Can't we/you do something like this in the US?:

We got a flyer from a local real-estate agent in the mail.  I usually recycle them without reading them.  Providence led me to cast my eye over this one - and then to read it intently.

Here is a quote from it.

'As a society, we seem to manage the needs of children at Christmas, ensuring that they're cared for and made to feel special, but the same can't always be said for those women who put the needs of others before their own.
We've decided that they deserve to feel special too.'

The flyer asked people to donate a handbag that they are not using and fill it with essential and luxury gifts to make a woman feel loved.  And a call to the agency said that they would be going to victims of domestic violence, the homeless, and local refuges.

So I had fun gathering together an assortment of gifts.  What we included was left up to the donor, with the proviso that no alcohol, sharps or food be included.  My selection included band-aids, tissues, shampoo and conditioner, a torch, toothpaste and toothbrushes, moisturiser, lip balm, hand towels...