Any words that are as variable in definition as 'maroon'?

Maroon can mean:

-a word used to describe certain fugitive slaves
-a verb, meaning to abandon
-a brownish red color
-a foolish or obnoxious person in the Bugs Bunny sense of the word

None of these definitions have much relation with one another, though as far as I can tell its original meaning was as a fugitive slave descriptor, with the verb form arising from that.

Anywho, this struck me as sort of a unique word, given the different uses for it. Any other words out there that are like this?

Rose can refer to a flower, a shade of red, a skin disease, a compass rose, a ceiling rose, the point where an animal’s horn connects to the forehead, the rose of a watering can and the past tense of the verb “to rise”. Some of these meanings are related to one another, but others are not.

Plus it’s a type of firework.

BTW isn’t the Bugs Bunny reference simply a kiddie-friendly way of saying, ‘Moron’?

I remember reading somewhere that “set” had the most meanings of any word in the English language.

  • a collection of something
  • to put something down
  • a television
  • stuck in their ways
  • part of tennis

There’s too many for me to list. Here’s a link.

The Bugs Bunny one is just a jokey mispronunciation of “moron”, so I don’t think you can count that.

There’s nothing more extreme than being your own antonym.

“Pitch” is another contender.

“Set” is probably #1 for English. I believe that “run” is a strong contender as well.

Bear, which is a noun for a large mammalian animal, and a verb for to endure or to carry.

Also “ultramaroon,” a pun on the color ultramarine.

But if you refer to someone as “Ehhhh, what a marooooon!” there’s a good chance your meaning will be understood. So it’s part of the language.

I’m guessing fuck doesn’t count, even though it can take on the meaning of all sorts of words?

It depends how loose you are with the constraint that the meanings must not be related to each other. “Set”, for example, may have many meanings, but they all come down to something to do with the act of arranging things, or the noun meaning an arrangement of things.

Also, “stick”.


I read that “jack” had more separate meanings than any other. But I have also heard the same of “set”.