Words with multiple meanings - wordscoach.com

Words with multiple meanings

What do you call words with multiple meanings?

Two words spelled the same but with different meanings are called homographs. Homographs are words that are spelled the same but may or may not be pronounced differently.

Words with multiple meanings And Examples

Homographs are examples of words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently.

Bow /bəʊ/

  • (noun) A knot tied with two loops – usually used when tying shoelaces or wrapping gifts.

She tied her hair up with ribbon and made a little bow.

  • (noun) A weapon used in archery to propel arrows.

Pierre slung the bow and arrows over his shoulder and trudged into the forest.

Bow /baʊ/

  • (verb) To bend the upper part of the body to show respect.

When Mae meets her grandparents, she always bows to greet them.

Lead /liːd/

  • (verb) To direct someone, to cause someone to follow

My father doesn’t like Simon. He thinks he’s leading me astray.

  • (noun) A person or route that enables one to access information.

We finally have a lead in this case – the man we just interviewed says he knew the victim!

Lead /lɛd/

  • (noun) A poisonous, soft and malleable metal that was used in pencils.

Car batteries and ammunition are often made with lead.

Row /rəʊ/

  • (noun) A straight line going across horizontally

The row in the table indicates the country and each column indicates the number of awards received each year.

  • (noun) A line of seats in the theatre.

My tickets show that I am in Row C.

  • (verb) Using two oars to propel a boat.

Lee wakes up every morning at 5 am to practice rowing.

Row /raʊ/

  • (noun – British informal) A quarrel

Hiya and Ishita often row about who gets to play video games.

Homonyms are examples of words that are spelled and pronounced the same


  • (noun) The outer layer of a tree

Tree bark is used to make paper.

  • (verb) A sound a dog makes.

The dog’s bark was so vicious that I ran away, terrified.


  • (noun) The hard surface on the tips of your fingers.

She went to the salon to get her nails done.

  • (noun) A small metal spike with a flat tip drilled into wood to join things together.

Claire drilled a nail into the wall to hang up a picture.

  • (verb) To get something completely correct, or to make no errors.

I nailed that exam – it was far too easy!


  • (noun) A fiction book.

“The Grapes of Wrath” is John Steinbeck’s best novel.

  • (adjective) Something new or original.

The steam engine was a novel invention that changed the way people traveled.


  • (noun) Changes in the weather marked by shifting temperatures. These include summer, winter, spring and autumn.

My favorite season is winter because the snow is so magical.

  • (verb) To enhance the flavor of a dish by using spices like basil, cumin, turmeric, paprika etc.

The recipe says to season the dish with plenty of salt and pepper.


  • (verb) To crush or squeeze something (generally to destroy it). Can be used literally or metaphorically.

She squashed my dreams of ever becoming a famous singer.

  • (noun) A family of vegetables with hard orange or green shells.

My dad made butternut squash soup for dinner.


  • (noun) A piece of equipment used when playing tennis

I hate carrying my racket around when I have tennis practice – it’s so huge and annoying.

  • (noun) A load, unpleasant noise-causing disruption.

I couldn’t sleep with the racket coming from the party next door.

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