Multiple-Meaning Words Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 28, 2011

Multiple-Meaning Words

In this lesson, you'll discover that some words can mean more than one thing . . . it's up to you to figure out which meaning an author is using.

You may already know many words that have two or more meanings. The words are called homonyms, from the Greek for "same name." For example, the word fly is a noun that means "a small insect."

Example 1

A pesky fly kept buzzing by my ear!

But fly can also be a verb that means "to move through the air with wings."

Example  2

My brother likes to design and fly paper airplanes.

So which meaning does this author use in the following quote? "I wonder what they're talking about in that room? Boy, I wish I were a fly on the wall!"

You probably figured it out. The writer wants to be a tiny insect that people wouldn't notice as it listened to their private conversation!

Here are just a few more familiar multiple-meaning words.

Practice exercises for this concept can be found at: 

Multiple-Meaning Words Practice Exercises

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