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polysemy

When a symbol, word, or phrase means many different things, that's called polysemy. The verb "get" is a good example of polysemy — it can mean "procure," "become," or "understand."

One of the concepts used by linguists (people who study the way languages work) is polysemy — it's an ambiguous quality that many words and phrases in English share. Generally, polysemy is distinguished from simple homonyms (where words sound alike but have different meanings) by etymology. Polysemous words almost always share the same origin or root. Speaking of etymology, polysemy comes from Greek, in which it means "of many senses."

Definitions of polysemy
  1. noun
    the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings
    synonyms: lexical ambiguity
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    Antonyms:
    monosemy
    having a single meaning (absence of ambiguity) usually of individual words or phrases
    type of:
    ambiguity, equivocalness
    unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning
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