A homograph is a word that has more than one meaning.
Where its pronunciation differs with the second meaning, it is called a heteronym or a heterophone.
Sometimes they can appear in one sentence with different meanings and sounds.
One might be a verb, the other a noun.
As with figures of speech like paraprosdokians[i], homographs provide further amusing evidence of the subtle richness and quirkiness of the English language.
As a demonstration, here are examples in single sentences used in both senses:-
· The bandage was wound around the wound;
· I bow to the creative genius of bow tie couturiers;
· the debating competition judges were content with the content of my speech;
· the entrance to the archaeological site of Petra in Jordan cannot fail but to entrance the visitor;
· the motorcyclist moped when he realised that a thief had taken his moped;
· the verbose judge spoke in one long sentence after another, announcing that his verdict was to sentence the criminal to life in prison;
· the dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse;
· we must polish the Polish furniture;
· the soldier decided to desert his platoon in the desert;
· since there is no time like the present, he thought it was opportune to deliver the present;
· a sea bass was painted on the head of the rock band’s bass drum;
· I did not object to the object;
· the insurance for the invalid was declared invalid after passing its expiry date;
· there was a row among the oarsmen about how to row;
· they were too close to the door to close it;
· the buck does strange things when the does are present;
· a seamstress and her sewer fell down into a sewer line;
· the wind was too strong to wind down the sail;
· upon seeing the vandal’s tear on the painting, I shed a tear;
· I had to subject the subject to a series of tests;
· how can I intimate this family secret to my most intimate friend?
©Michael McSorley 2018