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  • Polysemy
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  • Polysemy (from Greek: πολυ-, poly-, “many” and σῆμα, sêma, “sign”) is the capacity for a sign (e.g., a word, phrase, etc.) or signs to have multiple related meanings (sememes), i.e., a large semantic field. It is usually regarded as distinct from homonymy, in which the multiple meanings of a word may be randomly, unconnected or unrelated. Polysems have the same etymology, which is not the case for homonyms. Sources of polysemy can be found in different figures of speech, such as metaphors, metonomy (associated meaning) etc. Example Bank: a financial institution or the building where a financial institution offers services (river bank is a homonym to financial institution and the building as they do not share etymologies).
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