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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.polysemous - of words; having many meanings
ambiguous - having more than one possible meaning; "ambiguous words"; "frustrated by ambiguous instructions, the parents were unable to assemble the toy"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌpɒlɪˈsiːməs] adjpolisemico/a
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in periodicals archive ?
Whereas the word culture is polysemous, the word mafia cannot, in this context, be used in its original meaning; a fact that is well known.
The DeMarea trilogy illustrates a single process composed of superimposed, polysemous manual oxidation operations.
Medieval philosophers were quite liberal in allowing those of lesser ability and skimpier learning to miss quite a bit while interpreting profound texts; they were adamant however in maintaining that texts are polysemous and that there are several levels on which they can be interpreted.
Their topics include from counting to writing: the innovative potential of bookkeeping in Uruk Period Mesopotamia, the spread of productive and technological innovations in Europe and the Near East: an integrated zoo-archaeological perspective on secondary animal products and bronze utilitarian metallurgy, wheels of change: the polysemous nature of early wheeled vehicles in third-millennium BCE Central and Northwest European societies, the diffusion of known-how within spheres of interaction: modeling prehistoric innovation processes between Southwest Asia and Central Europe during the fifth and fourth millennia BC, and weapon technology and use wear in Late Neolithic and and Early Bronze Age southern Scandinavia.
On the other hand, a polysemous visual word may mean different things under different contexts [3].
Much of the topicality in Ibsen's plays has its basis in the fact that they are on the one hand subtly structured throughout while on the other hand they are full of ambiguities and display numerous polysemous passages that appeal to the reader's or audience's reconstructive powers of detection.
Republishing Moore's poetry between 1932 and 1941 therefore became a necessity for those who, like White, value Moore's early "polysemous complexity" over her later "didactic' simplicity" (AG xiii).
The fragment orbits around the colloquial and polysemous term "blacking," which is Moten's way of evoking collective black experience through the tradition of Byard's trade.
Like LSI, PLSI manages synonymous and in addition polysemous words.
(31) Yet, the polysemous aspects of film interpretation do not undermine the fact that movies simultaneously normalize, reproduce, and even challenge cultural patterns and symbols.