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 drank a glass of milk.

She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Polysemy refers to words or phrases with different, but related meanings. The statue was made out of a block of polysmy. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether a word is polysemous or not because the relations between words can be vague and unclear. Polysemy and Homonymy are two similar concepts in linguistics. Polysemy has different, yet related meanings.

The origins of the words are related. Some words do not have the same spellings, but they share same the same pronunciation.


Homonymy refers to the existence of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins. Such words are generally listed in dictionaries under one entry; numbers may be used to denote the subtle differences. Although the meanings of the underlined word pairs only have a subtle difference.

The meaning of homonymous words cannot be guessed since the words have unrelated meanings.

Polysemy is the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase. Both of them refer to words having multiple meanings.

He read the newspaper. Her areas of interests include literature, language, himonymy and also food.

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

The enraged actor sued the newspaper. Polysemous words can be understood if you know the meaning of one word. 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.

Homonymy refers to two unrelated words that look or sound the same. A word becomes polysemous if it can be used to express different meanings. Polysemy refers to the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase.

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He forgot to milk the cow.

They fixed a date for the wedding. Polysemous words are listed under one entry in dictionaries. The above two examples ans both written and read alike; they have the same spellings and sounds.

His cottage is near a small wood. The difference between these meanings can be obvious or subtle.

Difference Between Polysemy and Homonymy

He fixed his hair. Homonymy has completely different meanings. This is the main difference between polysemy and homonymy. But, examining the origins of the words can help to decide whether a word is polysemic or homonymous. Given below are some examples of homonyms:.