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Related to Polysemia: polysemy, Polysemic


Having or characterized by many meanings, as the words play and table.

[From Late Latin polysēmus, from Greek polusēmos : polu-, poly- + sēma, sign.]

pol′y·se′my (pŏl′ē-sē′mē, pə-lĭs′ə-) n.


(ˌpɒlɪˈsiːmɪ; pəˈlɪsəmɪ)
(Linguistics) the existence of several meanings in a single word. Compare monosemy
[C20: from New Latin polysēmia, from Greek polusēmos having many meanings, from poly- + sēma a sign]
ˌpolyˈsemous, polysemic, polyseme adj


(ˈpɒl iˌsi mi, pəˈlɪs ə mi)

diversity of meanings.
[< French polysémie (1897) < Late Latin polysēm(us) with many meanings (< Greek polýsēmos)]
pol`y•se′mous, adj.


a diversity of meanings for a given word.
See also: Language
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.polysemy - the ambiguity of an individual word or phrase that can be used (in different contexts) to express two or more different meanings
equivocalness, ambiguity - unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning
monosemy - having a single meaning (absence of ambiguity) usually of individual words or phrases


[pɒˈlɪsəmɪ] Npolisemia f
References in periodicals archive ?
The idea is not only evident in the poetic polysemia and multilinguistic paronomasia characteristic of the creative work of Shakespeare, Milton, and their contemporaries, but also explicitly acknowledged in such formal defenses as Sidney's Defense of Poesy and Daniel's Musophilus; in the latter, we hear of
The polysemia Faulkner employs here requires unpacking: it might be assumed that "the long sleep that outlasts love" is simply death itself, Thanatos defeating Eros, their polarity invoking the seemingly obvious meaning, given the context of the figuration.
If allegory has once again become somehow congenial for us today, as over against the massive and monumental unifications of an older modernist symbolism or even realism itself, it is because the allegorical spirit is profoundly discontinuous, a matter of breaks and heterogeneities, of the multiple polysemia of the dream rather than the homogeneous representation of the symbol.