See what else I'm up to > > > >

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Definition Overload

Definition Overload

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time I’ve said this:  English is probably one of the hardest languages to learn (assuming it’s not your first).  With all of the homonyms, homophones, and the 7 different ways to pronounce the letter combination “-ough”, it can get confusing in a hurry.  In addition to words being able to be pronounced in different ways, countless words out there have many different meanings.  Even worse: we have some words with countless meanings.

Okay, well not countless, but many indeed!  Don’t ask how, but I got to wondering: exactly which English word has the most definitions?  (I swear, sometimes I have the curiosity of a six-year-old.)  So, I took a crack at it and guessed “run.”  I figured you can run a marathon, run a software application, have a good run (like a winning streak), run for a political office, a well can run dry,  or you can get a run in a piece of fabric.  Anyway, lo and behold!  I was pretty darn close.  “Run” is the word with the second highest number of definitions.  And I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I found out just how many meanings of “run” actually exist. 

Oxford dishes out 396 definitions for the word “run”!  (All of a sudden, my six weren’t so exciting.)

Even more impressively, “run” is not only second place, it’s a distant second place.  Any idea what the first place word is?  (Don’t worry if you guess wrong.  I did, too.  I was way off!)

The word “set” clocks in at 464 different meanings!  (Different enough, that is.)  Crazy, huh?  If you care enough to find a list of them, you’ll find that many of the definitions are very similar.  But even still, 464 is shocking. 

So what do you do with a bit of random trivia like this?  Impress your friends by knowing which words means most.  And if that doesn’t impress your friends, well, you could learn to ride a unicycle. 

Honorable Mentions:  Go, Fall, Put, and Stand are all over 250!


Post a Comment


(c)2012 Dry Humor Daily