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In contrast to the notion of sense relations, polysemy and homonymy refer to similarities rather than differences between meanings. A word is polysemous when. Abstract. In this article we examine the concepts of polysemy and homonymy. After a broad overview of the topic we focus on the treatment of several examples . Polysemy and homonymy are semantic phenomena that are part of our everyday language. Polysemous words possess two or more related senses; homonyms.

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He forgot to milk the cow. Polysemy refers to the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase.

The enraged actor sued the newspaper. The origins of the words are related.

Polysemy and Homonymy are two similar concepts homonyymy linguistics. But, examining the origins of the words can help to decide whether a word is polysemic or homonymous.

This is the main difference between polysemy and homonymy. Homonymy has completely different meanings.

Difference Between Polysemy and Homonymy | Definition, Meaning, Word Origin, etc.

Polysemous words are listed under one entry in dictionaries. He drank a glass of milk. Although the meanings of the underlined word pairs only have a subtle difference.


They fixed a date for the wedding.

Homonymy refers to two unrelated words that look or sound the same. Two or more words become homonyms if they either sound the same homophoneshave the same spelling homographsor if they both homophones and homographs, but do not have related meanings.

Some words do not have the same spellings, but they share same the same pronunciation. Polysemy has different, yet related meanings.

His cottage is near a small wood. Polysemous words can be understood if you know the meaning of one word. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether a word is polysemous or not because the relations between words can be vague and unclear. The above two examples are both written and read alike; they have the same spellings and sounds. The meaning of homonymous words cannot be guessed since the homonyny have unrelated meanings. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


Polysemy refers to words or phrases with different, but related meanings. The statue was made out of a block of wood. Polysemy is the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase.

Given below are some examples of homonyms:.

Difference Between Polysemy and Homonymy

He read the newspaper. Both of them refer to words having multiple meanings. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Such words are generally listed in dictionaries under one entry; numbers may be used to denote the subtle differences. He fixed his hair. A word becomes polysemous if it can be used to express different meanings. Homonymy refers to the existence of two or more words having the hominymy spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins.

The difference between these meanings can be obvious or subtle.