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pljames
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2016 6:21:59 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/12/2013
Posts: 1,414
Neurons: 15,207
Location: Marble, North Carolina, United States
How many English words alone have different meanings? I am very proud of this forum and showing and teaching me how to write again at my age. curious-Paul
Shulamit
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 12:13:09 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/19/2016
Posts: 168
Neurons: 48,633
Location: Berkeley, California, United States
Hi there, PLjames!

How many words in English have more than one meaning? Gosh, thinking about this, there are damn few words that don't. Of course there's jargon specific to a profession, there are scores of technical terms that have singular meanings, and there are those chemical/pharmaceutical/medical/mathematical/hard sciences arcane words plus those multi-syllabic run-on words that likely are unique. But I don't think you could put an accurate number on them.

English is so influenced by so many languages and so ever changing. New words and meanings are added to the language every hour. The stew of words and meanings morphs and multiplies with every new wave of ethnic arrivals, new inventions, new discoveries, etc., that it's impossible to keep track of them all, let alone affix a number to them!

While writing this response, I was struck by how many of the words I've used have many meanings, and how relatively few of them have only one.

What inspired you to ask the question?

Variety is the spice of life. Lack of variety is the spouse of life.
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