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Friday, March 25, 2011

Word Games

You know what's a weird word? "Cleave", that's what. For those of you not in the know, cleave means two things: either a) to split something apart, often with the connotation of forcefulness, or b) to strongly adhere two or more things together. Now, how many other words do you know in the english language that have two possible definitions that are such polar opposites of each other? Actually, what other words like that do you know? I'd be interested to see any you can come up with. Also, another thing I was wondering about this morning was which word in the english language has the most different definitions associated with it? Let me give an example with the word "lap". You could have a cat curled up on your lap that then jumps off and makes a lap around the house before going over to lap up some water from its bowl. As you can see, lap can mean either your natural leg-tray, a complete circuit of movement or a verb for using one's tongue to drink. All viable definitions and all very, very different. So, yeah, which word has the largest number of different definitions like that? I surely don;t know. I leave that to the bigger word nerds among you to try and divine. In the meantime, I'ma go waste time on the internet. Well, elsewhere on the internet q;

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12 Comments:

Anonymous virginiallorca said...

"Egregious"

Let's go with egregious cleaving.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Uncle Tim said...

One of my favorite words is "well", not because it has so many definitions, but because it can be so many parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and interjection!
As for lots of definitions, I think "run" has an impressive number.
You can "raise" a barn, or you can "raze" a barn.
There's actually quite a number of these words: to rent (means the opposite if you're the owner); bill (money vs money that you owe); to bolt (to secure vs to run away); to fix (just ask the cat if it feels restored to normal); stars are out vs lights are out; to screen (show vs hide); if you swing and miss, why is it called a "strike" in baseball?
There are lots more...

10:07 PM  
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