Morphology

Polysemic words with examples

Polysemic words

Polysemic words are those that have more than one meaning, something that happens very frequently in Spanish. Let’s look at an example with the verb “pay”: “She paid for the food” and “she paid for her wickedness.” In the first case, it is about satisfying or making a payment, and in the second, about receiving or suffering a punishment. In this article we will provide you the information about Polysemic words with examples

Although it seems to serve to confuse, polysemic words contribute to the speed of conversations and are part of the so-called economy of language (languages ​​make the most of their resources, in this case, giving more than one meaning to the same word).

Confusion in communications about the meaning of a word is avoided thanks to the context. It is not the same to say in a discussion, raising your voice: “You will pay for it!”, Than to ask in a normal voice in a store: “Will you pay for it?”.

We must not confuse polysemic words with homonyms: the latter are spelled the same, but have different meanings and origins. Let’s look at an example of homonymous words: “Luisa is getting married this Sunday” and “Luisa is going home this Sunday”.

In the first case it is the verb to marry, and in the second it is the noun related to housing. There are polysemic words, such as the verb to pass , which can have up to 64 different meanings, according to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Examples of polysemic words

  1. Fan. Folding air jet / Series of ideas or things to choose from.
  2. Needle. To sew or to inject / To mark the hour, minutes and seconds on clocks / Compass / Fish with a tube-shaped tip.
  3. Apparatus. Machine / Organic system (“circulatory apparatus”) / Political or state structure (“the repressive apparatus”).
  4. Bank. Furniture to sit / Financial institution / In rivers, lakes and seas, shallow stretches of sand.
  5. Side. Proclamation, decree / Faction, party (“he is on your side”).
  6. Bomb. Explosive device / Equipment to move water flows / fuel dispenser / Air balloon for children’s parties.
  7. Sing. Produce melodious sounds / Bird language / Betray, confess.
  8. Letter . Message, written that is sent by mail / Menu, list of foods in a restaurant.
  9. Copper. Red Metal / Money (“he doesn’t have a copper in his pocket”).
  10. Right. Straight, direct / Relating to the laws / Right-handed (“right arm”) / Fair, honest.
  11. Destination. Hado, force that controls life / Place to travel / Goal.
  12. Double. Two portions of something / Two equal people or things / Specialist who replaces an actor or actress in stunts. Polysemic words with examples
  13. Pregnancy. State of pregnancy in women / Difficulty, obstacle / Shyness, shame.
  14. Entry. Space to enter somewhere / Ticket or ticket / Areas without hair on the head.
  15. StyleForm or manner of behaving or acting / Characteristics of an art form in a certain period / Part of a flower.
  16. Skirt. Garment / Cut of meat / Lower part of a mountain.
  17. Front. Top of a face / Front of a house or terrain / Trench, confrontation zone.
  18. Focus. Lighthouse, bulb, flashlight / Center of attention, point of interest.
  19. Spend. Buy / Deteriorate with use / Consume (“uses a lot of water”).
  20. Cat. Carnivorous mammal, feline / Instrument for lifting heavy objects (such as the hydraulic jack of vehicles) / Colloquial way of nicknamed those born in Madrid.
  21. Grenade. Edible fruit / Projectile and explosive device / Spanish province and Caribbean country.
  22. Habit. Religious dress / Custom (“smoking is a bad habit”).
  23. Strand. Piece of thread in a garment / Fiber of meat / Stigma of the saffron flower.
  24. Home. Place where you cook, fireplace or stove / House, domicile / Asylum, place of retirement.
  25. Leaf. Part of a plant / Sharp part of a knife or dagger / Paper support / Part of a door or window.
  26. Icon. Religious image of the Orthodox Church / Graphic symbol that resembles what is represented (in computer programs and traffic signs.
  27. Infant. Boy or girl in their early years / Belonging to a royal family / Soldier who fights on foot (infantry).
  28. Innocent. That he is not guilty / Naive, naive / Harmless, that he is not harmful / Ignorant.
  29. Pull. Pull, hold and attract (pull a rope) / Aspire, smoke (“pull a cigarette”) / Eat a lot.
  30. Council. Meeting of several people / Group or committee / Union of two objects.
  31. Long. Extended, which has length / Generous / Dilated (“this goes for long”) / In music, a slow movement.
  32. Beat. Dog barking / Heart pumping, pulse.
  33. Language . Human organ / System of signs to communicate.
  34. Parrot. Ave, parrot / Ugly, who wears garish colors / Person who talks too much.
  35. Send. Give an order / Send something or someone / Order something or someone.
  36. Mango. Edible tropical fruit / Beautiful, attractive person / Money (“He doesn’t have a mango”).
  37. Wrist. Toy / Articulation between the hand and the arm / Attractive woman / Skill (“having a doll to do it well”).
  38. Nothing. Absolute absence of something / Feeling of emptiness / To downplay something (“it’s nothing”).
  39. Noble. Generous, kind, of good character / Belonging to a family of ancestry / Chemically inactive, metals such as gold and platinum.
  40. Wave. Wave in the water / Thermal currents (“cold wave”) / Groups in movement / Cultural currents (“the rock wave”).
  41. Organ. Parts of an animal or plant body / Musical instrument / Publication spokesperson for a party or organization.
  42. Happen. Carrying from one place to another / Crossing from one place to another / Suffering or feeling (“having a bad time”) / In board games, do not play when it is your turn.
  43. Pasta. Dough made with different substances / Various types of noodles / Pastry sweets / Money.
  44. Bridge. Construction with various materials to cross rivers or crevices / Dental prosthesis / Checkpoint on a boat.
  45. Radio. Part of a circumference / Maximum reach of a person, activity or instrument / Bone of the forearm.
  46. Real. That belongs to royalty / Currency (“the Brazilian real”) / Grand, luxurious.
  47. Sauce. Mix of various foods to prepare dressings / Caribbean musical genre / Moment or situation that enlivens or brightens life. Polysemic words with examples
  48. Serie. Chain of facts or events (“wave series”) / Sets of tickets or stamps / Television program with several episodes.
  49. Table. Flat piece of wood / Table of numbers (multiplication table) / Graphic with information broken down into rows and columns.
  50. Tube. Hollow metal cylinder / Element of old radios and televisions / Container for paints and creams (“the toothpaste tube”).
  51. Candle. Vigil (“sleep all night”) / Wax tube with a wick to illuminate.

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