polysemy

[ pol-ee-see-mee, puh-lis-uh-mee ]
/ ˈpɒl iˌsi mi, pəˈlɪs ə mi /

noun

a condition in which a single word, phrase, or concept has more than one meaning or connotation.

QUIZZES

DO YOU KNOW THIS VOCABULARY FROM "THE HANDMAID'S TALE"?

"The Handmaid's Tale" was required reading for many of us in school. Everyone else has probably watched the very popular and addictive TV show. Do you remember this vocabulary from the book, and do you know what these terms mean?
Question 1 of 10
decorum

Origin of polysemy

1895–1900; < New Latin polysēmia, equivalent to Late Latin polysēm(us) with many significations (< Greek polýsēmos, equivalent to poly- poly- + sêm(a) sign + -os adj. suffix) + -ia -y3

OTHER WORDS FROM polysemy

pol·y·se·mous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for polysemy

polysemy
/ (ˌpɒlɪˈsiːmɪ, pəˈlɪsəmɪ) /

noun

the existence of several meanings in a single wordCompare monosemy

Derived forms of polysemy

polysemous, adjective

Word Origin for polysemy

C20: from New Latin polysēmia, from Greek polusēmos having many meanings, from poly- + sēma a sign
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012