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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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Polysemy and Homonymy are two similar concepts in linguistics. Both of them refer to words having multiple meanings.

Polysemy refers to the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase. Homonymy refers to the existence of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins. This is the main difference between polysemy and homonymy. Polysemy refers to words or phrases with different, but related meanings. A word becomes polysemous if it can be used to express different meanings.


The difference between these meanings can be obvious or subtle. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether a word is polysemous or not because the relations between words can be vague and unclear. But, examining the origins of the words can help to decide whether a word is polysemic or homonymous.

He drank a glass of milk. He forgot to milk the cow. The enraged actor sued the newspaper. He read the newspaper. His cottage is near a small wood.

The statue was made out of a block of wood. He fixed his hair. They fixed a date for the wedding. Although the meanings of the underlined word pairs only have a homoynmy difference. The origins of the words are related.

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

Such words are generally listed in dictionaries under one entry; numbers may be used to denote the subtle differences. 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. Given below are some examples of homonyms:. The above two examples are both written and read alike; they have the same spellings and sounds.


Some words do not have the same spellings, but they share same the same pronunciation.

Difference Between Polysemy and Homonymy

Polysemy is the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase. Polysemy has different, yet related meanings.

Homonymy has completely different meanings. Polysemous words are listed under one entry in dictionaries.

Polysemous words can be understood if you know the meaning of one word. The meaning of homonymous words cannot be guessed since the words have unrelated meanings. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English.

Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.