Magazine article Word Ways

Too Many Definitions

Magazine article Word Ways

Too Many Definitions

Article excerpt

The English language is rich in alternative ways of saying the same thing with slightly varying emotional nuances. Thus it is no surprise to find a multitude of synonyms for certain words such as "brave": bold, valiant, valorous, courageous, doughty, intrepid, plucky, gallant, stout, heroic, dauntless, fearless, and a few others that escape me. Or "nonsense": eyewash, poppycock, claptrap, drivel, gibberish, gobbledegook, rot, hogwash, flapdoodle, bosh, bunkum, hokum, bilge, balderdash, twaddle, tommyrot, rubbish, garbage, pishtosh, humbug, and fiddle-laddie.

The opposite phenomenon is the word that means many things. There are many such words which take up nearly half a page of the big Webster's. There are two words which come to mind, both of them with noun and verb denotations. However, to keep the list of definitions within limits, I will define the first word in its noun form only and the second in its verb form. …

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