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Hyperelastic 12-11-2011 09:00 AM

English words with three or more completely unrelated meanings
 
The word "band" has at least three distinct meanings:

1. A group of people engaged in a cooperative pursuit, such as a musical group or a band of thieves.

2. A strap or belt intended to carry a tension load

3. A frequency interval

Obviously, "distinct" is a matter of opinion, but what are some other English words with at least three distinct meanings? What is the English word that has the most distinct meanings?

K364 12-11-2011 09:34 AM

A candidate is "set"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/set

Oakminster 12-11-2011 09:40 AM

Punch:

1: (v) to strike with the fist

2: (n) a type of beverage

3: (n) a puppet character, ie Punch and Judy

Batfish 12-11-2011 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hyperelastic (Post 14553565)
The word "band" has at least three distinct meanings:

1. A group of people engaged in a cooperative pursuit, such as a musical group or a band of thieves.

2. A strap or belt intended to carry a tension load

3. A frequency interval

Obviously, "distinct" is a matter of opinion, but what are some other English words with at least three distinct meanings? What is the English word that has the most distinct meanings?

All three of those are related.

Farmer Jane 12-11-2011 10:10 AM

The word check has WAY more than three. Do I get a prize?

Quote:

check

verb /CHek/ 
checked, past participle; checked, past tense; checking, present participle; checks, 3rd person singular present

Examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy, quality, or condition, or to detect the presence of something
- customs officers have the right to check all luggage
- a simple blood test to check for anemia

Verify or establish to one's satisfaction
- check the expiration date on your passport
- she glanced over her shoulder to check that the door was shut

Examine with a view to rectifying any fault or problem discovered
- check the oil and fluid levels again

Verify the accuracy of something by comparing it with (something else)
- keep your receipt to check against your statement

Agree or correspond when compared

Stop or slow down the progress of (something undesirable)
- efforts were made to check the disease

Curb or restrain (a feeling or emotion)
- he learned to check his excitement

Master an involuntary reaction
- Chris took one step backward then checked himself

Hamper or neutralize (an opponent) with one's body or stick

Provide a means of preventing
- processes to check against deterioration in the quality of the data held

(of a hound) Pause to make sure of or regain a scent

(of a trained hawk) Abandon the intended quarry and fly after other prey

Move a piece or pawn so that (the opposing king) is under attack

(in poker) Choose not to make a bet when called upon, allowing the action to move to another player

noun /CHek/ 
checks, plural

An examination to test or ascertain accuracy, quality, or satisfactory condition
- a campaign calling for regular checks on gas appliances
- a health check

A stopping or slowing of progress
- there was no check to the expansion of the market

A means of control or restraint
- a permanent check upon the growth or abuse of central authority

An act of hampering or neutralizing an opponent with one's body or stick

A temporary loss of the scent in hunting

A false stoop when a hawk abandons its intended quarry and pursues other prey

A part of a piano that catches the hammer and prevents it from retouching the strings

A move by which a piece or pawn directly attacks the opponent's king. If the defending player cannot counter the attack, the king is checkmated

The bill in a restaurant

A token of identification for left luggage

A counter used as a stake in a gambling game

A crack or flaw in timber

exclamation /CHek/ 

Expressing assent or agreement

Used by a chess player to announce that the opponent's king has been placed in check

noun 
checks, plural; cheques, plural

A written order to a bank to pay a stated sum from the drawer's account
- awarded a check for $1,000

The printed form on which such an order is written

noun 
checks, plural

A pattern of small squares
- a fine black-and-white check

A garment or fabric with such a pattern

adjective 

Having such a pattern
- a blue check T-shirt
Also, the word fuck.

Quote:

fuck

verb /fək/ 
fucked, past participle; fucked, past tense; fucking, present participle; fucks, 3rd person singular present

Have sexual intercourse with (someone)

(of two people) Have sexual intercourse

Ruin or damage (something)

noun /fək/ 
fucks, plural

An act of sexual intercourse

A sexual partner

exclamation /fək/ 

Used alone or as a noun (the fuck) or a verb in various phrases to express anger, annoyance, contempt, impatience, or surprise, or simply for emphasis

JBDivmstr 12-11-2011 10:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oakminster (Post 14553646)
Punch:

1: (v) to strike with the fist

2: (n) a type of beverage

3: (n) a puppet character, ie Punch and Judy

4: (v) to use a punch, i.e., "punch a hole on this mark"

Darth Panda 12-11-2011 10:49 AM

Quote:

play
   [pley] Show IPA
noun
1.
a dramatic composition or piece; drama.
2.
a dramatic performance, as on the stage.
3.
exercise or activity for amusement or recreation.
4.
fun or jest, as opposed to seriousness: I said it merely in play.
5.
a pun.
6.
the playing, action, or conduct of a game: The pitcher was replaced in the fourth inning of play.
7.
the manner or style of playing or of doing something: We admired his fine play throughout the game.
8.
an act or instance of playing or of doing something: a stupid play that cost us the match.
9.
one's turn to play: Whose play is it?
10.
a playing for stakes; gambling.
11.
an attempt to accomplish something, often in a manner showing craft or calculation; maneuver: They tried to buy up the stock in a takeover play.
12.
an enterprise or venture; deal: an oil and drilling play.
13.
action, conduct, or dealing of a specified kind: fair play; foul play.
14.
action, activity, or operation: the play of fancy.
15.
brisk, light, or changing movement or action: a fountain with a leaping play of water.
16.
elusive change or movement, as of light or colors: the play of a searchlight against the night sky.
17.
a space in which something, as a part of a mechanism, can move.
18.
freedom of movement within a space, as of a part of a mechanism.
19.
freedom for action, or scope for activity: full play of the mind.
20.
attention in the press or other media; coverage; dissemination as news: The birth of the panda got a big play in the papers.
21.
an act or instance of being broadcast: The governor's speech got two plays on our local station.
Quote:

verb (used with object)
22.
to act the part of (a person or character) in a dramatic performance; portray: to play Lady Macbeth.
23.
to perform (a drama, pantomime, etc.) on or as if on the stage.
24.
to act or sustain (a part) in a dramatic performance or in real life: to play the role of benefactor.
25.
to act the part or character of in real life: to play the fool; to play God.
26.
to give performances in, as a theatrical company does: to play the larger cities.
27.
to engage in (a game, pastime, etc.).
28.
to contend against in a game.
29.
to function or perform as (a specified player) in a game or competition: He usually plays left end.
30.
to employ (a piece of equipment, a player, etc.) in a game: I played my highest card.
31.
to use as if in playing a game, as for one's own advantage: He played his brothers against each other.
32.
to stake or wager, as in a game.
33.
to lay a wager or wagers on (something).
34.
to represent or imitate, as for recreation or in jest: to play cowboys and Indians.
35.
to perform on (a musical instrument).
36.
to perform (music) on an instrument.
37.
to cause (a phonograph, radio, recording, etc.) to produce sound or pictures: to play a tape; to play the radio.
38.
to do or perform: You shouldn't play tricks. Compromise plays an important part in marriage.
39.
to carry or put into operation; act upon: to play a hunch.
40.
to cause to move or change lightly or quickly: to play colored lights on a fountain.
41.
to operate or cause to operate, especially continuously or with repeated action: to play a hose on a fire.
42.
to allow (a hooked fish) to exhaust itself by pulling on the line.
43.
to display or feature (a news story, photograph, etc.), especially prominently: Play the flood photos on page one.
44.
to exploit or trade in (an investment, business opportunity, stock, etc.).
Quote:

verb (used without object)
45.
to exercise or employ oneself in diversion, amusement, or recreation.
46.
to do something in sport that is not to be taken seriously.
47.
to amuse oneself; toy; trifle (often followed by with ).
48.
to take part or engage in a game.
49.
to take part in a game for stakes; gamble.
50.
to conduct oneself or act in a specified way: to play fair.
51.
to act on or as if on the stage; perform.
52.
to perform on a musical instrument.
53.
(of an instrument or music) to sound in performance: The strings are playing well this evening.
54.
(of a phonograph, radio, recording, etc.) to give forth sound: The radio played all night.
55.
to be performed or shown: What's playing at the movie theater around the corner?
56.
to be capable of or suitable for performance, as a television or dramatic script: We hope this scene will play well.
57.
Informal . to be accepted or effective; fare: How will the senator's proposal play with the public?
58.
to move freely within a space, as a part of a mechanism.
59.
to move about lightly or quickly: The water of the fountain played in the air.
60.
to present the effect of such motion, as light or the changing colors of an iridescent substance: The lights played strangely over the faces of the actors.
61.
to operate continuously or with repeated action.
62.
Informal . to comply or cooperate: They wanted her to tell them what she knew about the plans, but she refused to play.
There are 14 more listed as phrases or idioms...

There are differing degrees of relation between the definitions, but it's an impressive word overall.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/play

JBDivmstr 12-11-2011 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CitizenPained (Post 14553703)
The word check has WAY more than three. Do I get a prize?

No, you do not. I won't dispute the fact that the word 'check' has multiple "completely unrelated" meanings, but I think you're attributing more than what the OP asked for, which was "three or more completely unrelated meanings", IMHO changing the tense of the word doesn't make for unrelated meanings. :dubious:

Just how many meanings are you implying, according to your post? :confused:

I posit the same to Darth Panda.

Darth Panda 12-11-2011 11:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JBDivmstr (Post 14553798)

Just how many meanings are you implying, according to your post? :confused:

I posit the same to Darth Panda.

I'm not really interested in checking each definition against every other and presenting a case for each one that I feel differs, but I do feel as though things like:

play, as in "give", referring to a range of motion something has (how much play);

play, as in "turn" in a game (your play);

play, as in "conduct" (fair play, dirty play, etc.);

play, as in "perform" on a musical instrument (play the guitar); and

play, as in "opportunity" relating to an oil field (an oil play)

are examples of distinct meanings. That isn't to say that in the course of the history of language that there is no common ancestry - of course there is- I'm just saying that the meanings are distinct, for some reasonable value of distinct. Many more definitions within the list constitute other meanings, with varying degrees of distinctness, which you, the OP, and others are free to evaluate for yourselves, should you desire to do so.

Annie-Xmas 12-11-2011 12:27 PM

GAY

1. Bright
2. Homosexual
3. Lame

astro 12-11-2011 12:35 PM

Bore

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bore

Quote:

to weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions, etc.: The long speech bored me.

to pierce (a solid substance) with some rotary cutting instrument.

an abrupt rise of tidal water moving rapidly inland from the mouth of an estuary.

past tense of the verb "bear".

Reyemile 12-11-2011 12:39 PM

Right
Quote:

1 that which is morally correct, just, or honorable : she doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong
2 a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way : she had every right to be angry
3 ( the right) the right-hand part, side, or direction

andyleonard 12-11-2011 12:53 PM

Fly: 1) a bug 2) an opening in trousers 3) to travel in air 4) to leave in haste.

O.k. maybe the last 2 are too close...

Xema 12-11-2011 12:54 PM

Run:
1. Rapid legged locomotion
2. A sequence of cards in games such as Gin Rummy
3. A small stream
4. A score in games such as cricket and baseball
... and numerous others.

As already noted, deciding whether meanings are related or unrelated can be contentious.

drewtwo99 12-11-2011 01:14 PM

light

1) the electromagnetic radiation (She was blinded by the light)
2) not having much weight (the pillow was light)
3) not having much content (a light topic for conversation)
4) to set aflame (I will light the match)

probably more but these are just off the top of my head.

hibernicus 12-11-2011 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Reyemile (Post 14554086)
Right:

3 ( the right) the right-hand part, side, or direction

How does that dictionary define "recursive"?

guizot 12-11-2011 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JBDivmstr (Post 14553798)
...you're attributing more than what the OP asked for, which was "three or more completely unrelated meanings", .

How on earth is it possible to determine "completely unrelated"? Drawing the line is going to be largely subjective and arbitrary. I think the only way to do that is to base it on different etymologies, which will eliminate just about everything mentioned above.

Otherwise, of course the words that have the most listings for different meanings are going to be ones like set, get, put, etc.--that is, the oldest worlds in the language.

As for the other question in the OP, if you just want words with three or more definitions, all you have to do is open a dictionary. Probably 60% of the entries will have at least three "different" meanings.

Chronos 12-11-2011 03:09 PM

There are certainly examples of words with two completely unrelated meanings: "Bear" comes to mind. There's no connection, not even etymological, between "ursine" and "carry".

For the OP, one that almost qualifies is "bit". I don't think that "past tense of bite" and "a small piece" are related to each other, though either might be related to "the part of a harness that goes in a horse's mouth". The computer definition, though, "an amount of information sufficient to distinguish between two possibilities", is more complicated, since it has a dual etymology: In part, it's a portmanteau for "binary digit", but in part, it's also influenced by "a small piece". Does that count as a completely unrelated meaning or not?

Hyperelastic 12-11-2011 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Batfish (Post 14553655)
All three of those are related.

Inasmuch as to how?

Chronos has the idea I was trying to convey in the OP.

I am aware that one can pick up dictionary and see multiple definitions for most words. What I'm looking for are completely unrelated definitions, like light, meaning visible electromagnetic radiation, and light meaning the opposite of heavy. (It's always possible that these are only apparently unrelated, with some obscure but interesting connection.) I'm not looking for "apron" meaning a garment that covers a flattish area, and "apron" meaning an area of pavement covering a flattish area.

BrotherCadfael 12-11-2011 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oakminster (Post 14553646)
Punch:

1: (v) to strike with the fist

2: (n) a type of beverage

3: (n) a puppet character, ie Punch and Judy

4: (n) a tool used to partially or completely penetrate a substance such as metal, plastic, leather, etc.

Derleth 12-11-2011 04:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hibernicus (Post 14554219)
How does that dictionary define "recursive"?

You might need to be a physicist to define 'right-as-in-chirality' without resorting to recursion.

hibernicus 12-11-2011 04:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 14554469)
For the OP, one that almost qualifies is "bit". I don't think that "past tense of bite" and "a small piece" are related to each other,

I think they almost certainly are, as you can see from the German cognates "er biss" (he bit) and "ein Bisschen" (a bit). If I am correct, a "bit" is originally a piece bitten off.

One example of three-way unrelated meanings is:
pen
(1) A writing instrument
(2) An area in which animals are held
(3) (slang) A place where convicted criminals are held (short for "penitentiary")

There are other meanings too but they are related to (1) and (2).

How about:
scale
(1) to climb
(2) a device for weighing or measuring
(3) a plate on the skin of a fish or snake



A thought occurs to me. Is it possible that English spelling was standardised in such a way as to distinguish unrelated homophones by different spelling? For example, "hare" and "hair" are standardised on different spellings. If so, this would explain the surprising lack of examples that satisfy the OP.

Chronos 12-11-2011 08:35 PM

Quote:

One example of three-way unrelated meanings is:
pen
(1) A writing instrument
(2) An area in which animals are held
(3) (slang) A place where convicted criminals are held (short for "penitentiary")
Although, the widespread adoption of meaning 3 was probably influenced by meaning 2.

I suppose if one wanted to stretch the meaning of "word", one could find acronyms or initialisms used for completely different things, in different contexts.

drewtwo99 12-11-2011 08:40 PM

How about fast?

Fast - adjective meaning "moving quickly"
fast - verb meaning "to refrain from eating"
fast - adjective meaning "steady" as in "hold fast your positions"

I still think light works. Those meanings I gave probably are completely unrelated, right?

guizot 12-11-2011 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hibernicus (Post 14554708)
A thought occurs to me. Is it possible that English spelling was standardised in such a way as to distinguish unrelated homophones by different spelling? For example, "hare" and "hair" are standardised on different spellings. If so, this would explain the surprising lack of examples that satisfy the OP.

There might be some cases of this, but usually the different spellings come from different etymologies, and often, in fact, at one time the words were not homophones. The pronunciation changed, but the spelling didn't.

brocks 12-11-2011 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 14554469)
There are certainly examples of words with two completely unrelated meanings: "Bear" comes to mind. There's no connection, not even etymological, between "ursine" and "carry".

For the OP, one that almost qualifies is "bit". I don't think that "past tense of bite" and "a small piece" are related to each other, though either might be related to "the part of a harness that goes in a horse's mouth". The computer definition, though, "an amount of information sufficient to distinguish between two possibilities", is more complicated, since it has a dual etymology: In part, it's a portmanteau for "binary digit", but in part, it's also influenced by "a small piece". Does that count as a completely unrelated meaning or not?

Does a drill "bit" come from biting into material?

brocks 12-11-2011 11:39 PM

Since the words are supposed to be unrelated, I don't see any need for them to be pronounced the same. And in that case:

tear - separate something into pieces
tear - run fast
tear - a drop from your eye

Farmer Jane 12-12-2011 12:07 AM

Check:
A temporary loss of the scent in hunting
To examine
The bill in the restaurant
A pattern


Fuck:
To destroy
To have sex
To bother
(as an) exclamation


I still deserve a prize. :(

Farmer Jane 12-12-2011 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brocks (Post 14555867)
Since the words are supposed to be unrelated, I don't see any need for them to be pronounced the same. And in that case:

tear - separate something into pieces
tear - run fast
tear - a drop from your eye


Aren't the first two related? Because to 'tear' (run fast), you are 'tearing up' the ground.

pulykamell 12-12-2011 12:31 AM

To help with searching, the word for what the OP describes is a homonym. A true homonym is a word that is spelled and pronounced the same, but with a different meaning and etymology.

Farmer Jane 12-12-2011 12:47 AM

fair - pale skin
fair - free from bias
fair - a grand outdoor party with SNO CONES!
fair - large/grand
fair - likely
fair - straight

...and many more.

Prize yet?

brocks 12-12-2011 12:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CitizenPained (Post 14555904)
Aren't the first two related? Because to 'tear' (run fast), you are 'tearing up' the ground.

I've only seen that in Roadrunner cartoons.

Farmer Jane 12-12-2011 01:02 AM

ring - a sound
ring - circular
ring - I'm thinking of a group of people, but that may be related to "circle"


Technically, there is no word with more than one meaning. There may be two words that are spelled the same and sound the same, but they are two distinct words.

state - a political entity
state - as a matter of fact
state - as a part of time
(state is debatable)

pulykamell 12-12-2011 01:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CitizenPained (Post 14555957)
fair - pale skin
fair - free from bias
fair - a grand outdoor party with SNO CONES!
fair - large/grand
fair - likely
fair - straight

...and many more.

Prize yet?

It depends on what the OP means by "distinct" meaning, but etymologically, all those meanings of fair come from two sources. Otherwise, isn't "set" or "make" the usual "word with most meanings"?

Mangetout 12-12-2011 01:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hibernicus (Post 14554219)
How does that dictionary define "recursive"?

Have you ever tried googling 'recursion' ? - it's quite interesting.

MrDibble 12-12-2011 07:27 AM

There's one that almost everyone in this thread has used already...
SPOILER:
Mean:
an average/mid-level value
to intend/signify
common/petty/harsh
There's also a regional meaning of comfort/pity/moaning/lamenting/complaining
Each of those has an independent etymology, so they're unrelated words.

MrDibble 12-12-2011 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derleth (Post 14554705)
You might need to be a physicist to define 'right-as-in-chirality' without resorting to recursion.

I'm pretty sure there are anatomical references we could use, given our basic asymmetry - such as "the side the average human liver is on when you're cutting from the front and the head is on top" or somesuch

although that does leave you with "front" and "top" to define, although those could be defined behaviourally

pulykamell 12-12-2011 09:15 AM

Rack has good number of distinct etymologies:

1. Framework of bars - from Middle Dutch rac, rec, recke
2. Ruin or destruction; wrack - from Middle English wrak
3. A horse's gait - origin unknown, possible from rock, or from French racquassure
4. A group of drifting clouds, from Middle English rak, reck(e); also possibly from Old English racu, "cloud"
5. To draw off from the lees (like in beermaking or winemaking), from Old French, compare to raqué
6. The neck portion of mutton, goat, or veal - origin unknown

Peter Morris 12-12-2011 10:29 AM

Foil has three distinct definitions.

1) to prevent the success of; frustrate; balk:
1250–1300; Middle English foilen, < Anglo-French foller, Old French fuler to trample, full (cloth).

2) metal in the form of very thin sheets: aluminum foil.
1350–1400; Middle English foille, foil < Old French fuelle, fueille, foille (< Latin folia leaves), fuel, fueil, foil (< Latin folium leaf, blade)

3) a flexible four-sided rapier having a blunt point.
1585–95; origin uncertain


Some other definitions appear to be connected to meaning # 2

- a person or thing that makes another seem better by contrast: The straight man was an able foil to the comic.

- Architecture . an arc or a rounded space between cusps, as in the tracery of a window or other ornamentation.

- An Aerofoil

Skald the Rhymer 12-12-2011 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Oakminster (Post 14553646)
Punch:

1: (v) to strike with the fist

2: (n) a type of beverage

3: (n) a puppet character, ie Punch and Judy

I daresay that 3 derives from 1. No cite, as I pulled the reasoning straight from my sphincter.

Peter Morris 12-12-2011 10:51 AM

Mr Punch, the puppet originated in Italian theatre Commedia Del Arte, where he is known as Punchinello or Pulcinella.

However, I'm not sure that a proper noun counts as a separate definition for a word.


I'd also guess that 'punch' the alcoholic drink is so called because it has a kick like a punch with the fist.

dracoi 12-12-2011 02:15 PM

Here's my contribution: SCORE
1) a notch or incision (or the act of making one)
2) a record or measurement of activity (sports scores, a score to settle, a test score)
3) musical notation (or the act of making it)
4) twenty
5) (slang) to have sex (though I suppose we could see how this meaning comes from definitions 1 or 2)

Also worth noting that all definitions but 4 can be nouns and verbs.

Peter Morris 12-12-2011 02:51 PM

I think the meanings of score are all connected.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/score

Origin:
before 1100; (noun) Middle English; late Old English scora, score (plural; singular *scoru ) group of twenty (apparently orig. notch) < Old Norse skor notch; (v.) Middle English scoren to incise, mark with lines, tally debts < Old Norse skora to notch, count by tallies; later v. senses derivative of the noun; akin to shear

As I understand it, it comes from counting i9n groups of 20, and cutting a notch for each group. Thus you have three base meanings there:
1) group of twenty
2) cutting
3) keeping count.

And lots of other meanings derived from them.

Enderw24 12-12-2011 03:24 PM

Polish:

1) to shine up
2) a country near to Germany
3) Like a poll (or a Paul)

hibernicus 12-12-2011 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Morris (Post 14556984)
Mr Punch, the puppet originated in Italian theatre Commedia Del Arte, where he is known as Punchinello or Pulcinella.

However, I'm not sure that a proper noun counts as a separate definition for a word.


I'd also guess that 'punch' the alcoholic drink is so called because it has a kick like a punch with the fist.

Actually, the words may be related, but not in the way that you guess. "Punch" comes from a word meaning "five" in Indian languages, the idea being that it is made with 5 ingredients. Compare: "Punjab", meaning 5 rivers in Persian.

The origin of our number words is generally obscure, but it is speculated that the Indo-European word for "five" is related to that for "hand" or "fist", the connection obviously being the 5 fingers on a human hand.

Dendarii Dame 12-13-2011 08:18 AM

Hand:

What's at the end of your arm
Assistance
Applause
A measurement of a horse's height.

All right, so maybe they're somewhat related...

md2000 12-13-2011 09:20 AM

Bank -
- to tilt, as in to bank an aircraft
- side of a river
- place that stores and lends money

of course, the tilt is related to the river, as bank also mean the road or railroad was on a earthen bank tilted to handle fast turns.

Annie-Xmas 12-13-2011 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame (Post 14560281)
Hand:

What's at the end of your arm
Assistance
Applause
A measurement of a horse's height.

All right, so maybe they're somewhat related...

Somewhat? You use what's at the end of your arm to assistance, applaud, and to measure a horse's height.

SpectBrain 12-13-2011 02:32 PM

“Don’t waste your time on the branches small,”
Said the farmer to his son,
“But lay your axe at the root of the tree,
So your work is sooner done.”

Then, like a good and obedient boy,
Not a word back did he say,
But he laid his axe at the root of the tree,
And went off and fished all day.

– Newton Mackintosh, Precious Nonsense!, 1895

Darth Panda 12-13-2011 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 14556587)
Rack has good number of distinct etymologies:

1. Framework of bars - from Middle Dutch rac, rec, recke
2. Ruin or destruction; wrack - from Middle English wrak
3. A horse's gait - origin unknown, possible from rock, or from French racquassure
4. A group of drifting clouds, from Middle English rak, reck(e); also possibly from Old English racu, "cloud"
5. To draw off from the lees (like in beermaking or winemaking), from Old French, compare to raqué
6. The neck portion of mutton, goat, or veal - origin unknown

Uh, you forgot the best one.


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