Meaning of Polysemia

What is Polysemia:

Polysemy is a term that is used to describe the diversity of meanings that certain words or linguistic signs contain. Polysemy is also a concept that refers to the various meanings that a phrase or expression can have depending on the context.

The word polysemy is composed of the prefix cop-, which indicates "many" and by week, which derives from the Greek and refers to "meaning." Hence, the word polysemy is used to designate words that have more than one meaning.

Polysemic words are found in a large number of languages, which have arisen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Figurative meaning of words: that is, when metaphors or metonymies are used to refer to or indicate something specific. For example, when referring to the legs of a table to indicate the columns or bars that support this object.
  • Specialized or technical language: it is when certain words are attributed a technical meaning according to the area of ​​work, research, development, among others. For example, the word "dough" does not mean the same thing in the area of ​​science as physics or chemistry, if we compare it with its meaning in the culinary field, in which it surely refers to an ingredient in a recipe.
  • Influence of foreign words: there is a diversity of words from which more than one meaning has been derived thanks to the influence or application of certain foreign terms. The most common example is the word "button", which is used, in principle, to name one of the accessories that garments have, but which can also indicate a specific part of a household appliance.
  • Homonymy: Homonymy refers to two or more words that are written and pronounced the same but whose meanings are different. For example, by bank you can refer to a financial institution or a seat.

Examples of polysemic words

There are several examples of polysemic words that are used daily to refer to or indicate one or more things at the same time. Here are some of the most used:

  • Letter: a letter can be understood as that letter that is sent or received via email or through the postal service, or the game of cards. For example: "Yesterday I sent a letter of congratulations to my coworkers." "Card games are to my liking."
  • Crest: it can indicate that part of the body that some animals, such as roosters and hens, have on the head or it can refer to the highest part of a wave. For example: "All roosters have a crest." "The crest of that wave was beautiful."
  • Cat: it is a polysemic word that can refer to an animal, a tool or a typical dance from Argentina and Uruguay. For example: "My cat is very affectionate." "I forgot to put the jack in the back of the car."
  • Gift: can be used to refer to a quality and, also, to treat a particular man. For example: "Maria has the gift of making me laugh." "Don Manuel is a very distinguished man."
  • Mango: it can indicate a tropical fruit or the part where certain tools can be held with the hands. For instance. "This year the season of magician came forward." "The hammer handle is broken."
  • Sierra: it is a word that can indicate a special tool to cut certain types of materials, such as wood or metal, or a set of mountains, and it can even refer to a type of fish. For example: "The mountain range is snowed." "José likes to eat saw."
  • Mouse: indicates the name of a rodent animal, as well as the accessory that is part of a computer. For example: "There is a hidden mouse in the parking lot." "The computer mouse was damaged and needs to be repaired."

There are also other polysemic words such as bag, capital, cube, ruler, layer, organ, leaf, among others.

History polysemy

The polysemy of History refers to all those meanings that this word has according to the context in which it is used.

For its part, the word history has different meanings, which makes it stand out among other polysemic words.

The most common use refers to the history of humanity and the formation and development of nations. But, it can also refer to the history of art or literature and even the history of the social and scientific sciences.

History is also used when a person recounts or narrates an event, something that happened.

If the story is referred to as a story, this information can be both true and fanciful, that will depend on in which space and situation a story is being discussed. For example, about the events that occurred during a social activity or about a literary and imaginative story.

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