Polysemy is a type of linguistic word play in which words are spelt the same and may sound the same or different. The distinction comes in its etymological meaning, its basic root word.
If each meaning of the word goes back to its root meaning, then it’s polysemic. Otherwise go have a look at “Monosemy” (only one meaning).
If you break polysemy apart:
Poly- means many, much
-semy is from sēma and means sign
To decide if a word is polysemic or a homonym, look it up in the dictionary. If the dictionary states that it has the same root or a shared etymology, it’s polysemy. Of course, there are always going to be some exceptions.
Grammar Explanations is…
…an evolving list of the structural rules and principles that determines where words are placed in phrases or sentences as well as how the language is spoken. Sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better or another “also known as”. Heck, there’s always a better way to explain it, so if it makes quicker and/or better sense, I would appreciate suggestions and comments from anyone on an area of grammar with which you struggle or on which you can contribute more understanding.
Reba’s Chiller introduced me to polysemes.
Pinterest Photo Credits:
“Gonates Cave” at the bay of Plakias, Crete, is Uoaei1’s own work [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. The Gonates caves and tunnels were dug by the German army during the occupation of Crete in World War II.
Voted Wikimedia Commons Picture of the day on 20 August 2016, “this image is a panorama consisting of multiple frames that were merged in software. As a result, this image necessarily underwent some form of digital manipulation. These manipulations may include blending, blurring, cloning, and color and perspective adjustments. As a result of these adjustments, the image content may be slightly different than reality at the points where multiple images were combined. This manipulation is often required due to lens, perspective, and parallax distortions.”
“Spoonful of Cereal” by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.