Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:00 AM
Hyperelastic Hyperelastic is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 3,055
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?
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:34 AM
K364 K364 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Posts: 2,195
A candidate is "set"

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/set
  #3  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:40 AM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Surefall Glade, Antonica
Posts: 18,729
Punch:

1: (v) to strike with the fist

2: (n) a type of beverage

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

Last edited by Oakminster; 12-11-2011 at 09:41 AM.
  #4  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:47 AM
Batfish Batfish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperelastic View Post
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.
  #5  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:10 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5,785
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
  #6  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:24 AM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Texas... Need I say more?
Posts: 2,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
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"
__________________
"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)
  #7  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:49 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 5,681
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

Last edited by Darth Panda; 12-11-2011 at 10:52 AM.
  #8  
Old 12-11-2011, 10:55 AM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Texas... Need I say more?
Posts: 2,042
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenPained View Post
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.

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

I posit the same to Darth Panda.

Last edited by JBDivmstr; 12-11-2011 at 10:57 AM. Reason: Darth panda is too fast!
  #9  
Old 12-11-2011, 11:14 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 5,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post

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

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.

Last edited by Darth Panda; 12-11-2011 at 11:17 AM.
  #10  
Old 12-11-2011, 12:27 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 44,498
GAY

1. Bright
2. Homosexual
3. Lame
  #11  
Old 12-11-2011, 12:35 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,151
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".
  #12  
Old 12-11-2011, 12:39 PM
Reyemile Reyemile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 804
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
  #13  
Old 12-11-2011, 12:53 PM
andyleonard andyleonard is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 196
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...
  #14  
Old 12-11-2011, 12:54 PM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 11,493
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.
  #15  
Old 12-11-2011, 01:14 PM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,757
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.
  #16  
Old 12-11-2011, 01:28 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 2,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reyemile View Post
Right:

3 ( the right) the right-hand part, side, or direction
How does that dictionary define "recursive"?
  #17  
Old 12-11-2011, 01:57 PM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 7,605
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
...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.
  #18  
Old 12-11-2011, 03:09 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,139
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?
  #19  
Old 12-11-2011, 04:13 PM
Hyperelastic Hyperelastic is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: New England
Posts: 3,055
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batfish View Post
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.
  #20  
Old 12-11-2011, 04:33 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 9,848
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
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.
  #21  
Old 12-11-2011, 04:38 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 19,705
Quote:
Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
How does that dictionary define "recursive"?
You might need to be a physicist to define 'right-as-in-chirality' without resorting to recursion.
  #22  
Old 12-11-2011, 04:40 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 2,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
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.
  #23  
Old 12-11-2011, 08:35 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 72,139
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.
  #24  
Old 12-11-2011, 08:40 PM
drewtwo99 drewtwo99 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,757
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?
  #25  
Old 12-11-2011, 09:46 PM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 7,605
Quote:
Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
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.
  #26  
Old 12-11-2011, 11:37 PM
brocks brocks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
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?
  #27  
Old 12-11-2011, 11:39 PM
brocks brocks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,281
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
  #28  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:07 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5,785
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.
  #29  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:08 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by brocks View Post
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.
  #30  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:31 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 41,205
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.
  #31  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:47 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5,785
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?

Last edited by Farmer Jane; 12-12-2011 at 12:48 AM.
  #32  
Old 12-12-2011, 12:49 AM
brocks brocks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenPained View Post
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.
  #33  
Old 12-12-2011, 01:02 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 5,785
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)
  #34  
Old 12-12-2011, 01:04 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 41,205
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitizenPained View Post
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"?

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-12-2011 at 01:04 AM.
  #35  
Old 12-12-2011, 01:27 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,555
Quote:
Originally Posted by hibernicus View Post
How does that dictionary define "recursive"?
Have you ever tried googling 'recursion' ? - it's quite interesting.
  #36  
Old 12-12-2011, 07:27 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 21,210
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.

Last edited by MrDibble; 12-12-2011 at 07:29 AM.
  #37  
Old 12-12-2011, 07:37 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 21,210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
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

Last edited by MrDibble; 12-12-2011 at 07:40 AM.
  #38  
Old 12-12-2011, 09:15 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 41,205
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
  #39  
Old 12-12-2011, 10:29 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: ___\o/___(\___
Posts: 11,478
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
  #40  
Old 12-12-2011, 10:43 AM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,357
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
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.
  #41  
Old 12-12-2011, 10:51 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: ___\o/___(\___
Posts: 11,478
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.

Last edited by Peter Morris; 12-12-2011 at 10:53 AM.
  #42  
Old 12-12-2011, 02:15 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,867
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.
  #43  
Old 12-12-2011, 02:51 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: ___\o/___(\___
Posts: 11,478
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.
  #44  
Old 12-12-2011, 03:24 PM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: KC. MO -094 35.3 39 4.9
Posts: 10,577
Polish:

1) to shine up
2) a country near to Germany
3) Like a poll (or a Paul)
  #45  
Old 12-12-2011, 04:26 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 2,193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
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.
  #46  
Old 12-13-2011, 08:18 AM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 10,952
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...
  #47  
Old 12-13-2011, 09:20 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,061
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.
  #48  
Old 12-13-2011, 01:08 PM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 44,498
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dendarii Dame View Post
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.
  #49  
Old 12-13-2011, 02:32 PM
SpectBrain SpectBrain is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The Midlands
Posts: 645
“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
  #50  
Old 12-13-2011, 04:26 PM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: NC
Posts: 5,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
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.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017