Technically in the English language you would be hard pressed to find words that do not have multiple definitions.

At last look, the English language is made up of one hundred-seventy thousand words. When you include slang, close to three-quarters of those words have more than one meaning. If you have a dictionary handy, take a look! It is hard to find that word that only has one meaning, is it? Most of these words only have a slight difference in meaning from their root definition, but some words can be opposites as well. In most cases the context the words are used in dictates the part of speech the word serves as and as a result the meaning intended for the word.

There are three common classifications of words that have multiple meanings: homographs, homonyms, and homophones. Interest fact as these terms start with the prefix homo-, which means the same. The first classification is homographs, these are terms that are spelled the same, but they have different pronunciations and meanings. The homograph that makes me scratch my head is "bass". This could be a fish you pull out of the river or a tone of music that could make your car shake. Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and spellings. An example are the terms right and write. One is the outside of left and the other requires a pen or pencil. The last classification can confuse you the because they sound the same and can have either the same or different spelling and that is called a homonym. An example is the term fair. This could mean being objective or a county-wide festival. This collection of worksheets explores fun and engaging aspects of this topic. The names of animals and the sounds that they make often can swivel into multiple words. We encourage students to use terms in multiple contexts within sentences that they originally write. These worksheets work on expanding vocabulary by identifying words that can be used in different context. Having the ability to master these types of vocabulary terms can help heighten your ability to express yourself and engage your audience in all of your written work.

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Printable Words That Have Multiple Meanings Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and answer key.

You Animal Worksheet

You Animal!

Say the name of each animal. Write a sentence that uses a different meaning of each animal’s name. Use the dictionary if you need help.

Two Sentences Worksheet

Two Sentences

Write two sentences for each word. Each sentence should reflect a different meaning.

Very Fitting Worksheet

Very Fitting

Write the word from the box that fits each pair of definitions.

Double Meaning Worksheet

Double Meaning

Write two meanings for each of the terms that are given.

My Boxes Worksheet

My Boxes

Choose the correct word to complete each sentence, based on the context. Use the Box. Circle the terms in the Box that have multiple meanings.

Complete the Sentence Worksheet

Complete the Sentence

Choose the term whose meaning completes both sentences.

True Multiple Meanings Worksheet

True Multiple Meanings

Write a sentence to demonstrate the different meanings that are possible.

Bend It Worksheet

Bend It!

Write a sentence to demonstrate the different meanings of each word.

What Context Worksheet

What Context!

Choose the correct meaning of the bold term in each sentence based on context.

Classes and Meanings Worksheet

Classes and Multiple Meanings

Sometimes the meaning of a word changes depending on whether it is functioning as a noun, a verb, or an adjective. Read each sentence below. Then, based on the context, choose the correct class for each bolded term. Check your answer by reading the definition.

Identifying By Class Worksheet

Identifying By Class

Choose the correct meaning of the bold term in each sentence based on context. Write the class of the bold word on the line.

Giving it Some Worksheet

Giving it Some Class

Write at least one definition for each word class that is describe to you.

Definitions Worksheet


Write at least one definition for each class of each term.

Many More Worksheet

Many More

Many words have more than one meaning; many can also belong to more than one class. How many multiple meanings can you think of? Write as many as you can on the lines.

Where it Is Worksheet

Where it Is?

Circle the letter of the sentence in which the bold has the same meaning as in the original sentence.

How Can Words Have Multiple Meanings?

Have you ever looked for a word's meaning in a dictionary and gotten confused with several meanings beside it? You must have wondered how can words have multiple meanings? It is quite possible in the English language. Words that have identical spelling and are pronounced similarly or either of both come under the category of Homonyms. These words are the English language's tricksters because we do not know the context in which it is said or written; we won't know which meaning to associate them.

Examples of Homonyms

1. Bail vs. Bail vs. Bale

bail - to clear water
bail - release of a prisoner
bale - a large bundle

2. Band vs. Band vs. Banned

band - a ring, something that binds
band - a group
banned - prohibited

3. Capital vs. Capital vs. Capitol

capital - punishable by death
capital - the chief city
capitol - the building where the legislature meets

4. Cent vs. Scent vs. Sent

cent - penny coin
scent - an odor
sent - past tense of send

5. For vs. Fore vs. Four

for - on behalf of
fore - on the front
four - 3 + 1

6. Their vs. There vs. They're

their - (used to show) belonging
there - refer to a place
they're - contraction of they are

What are Homographs?

Such words with identical spellings but varying meanings and pronunciations are called homographs. This is a subtype of homonyms, but unlike them, homographs are words that have the same spellings. These replicas of words cause too much confusion if you don't know in which context is the word written. Here are some examples of homographs.

1. Learned

We learned this topic last week. - (learn-duh)
She is an extremely learned individual. - (learn-ned)

2. Minute

This is not a minute issue. - (my-new-tuh)
Wait a minute! - (me-nut)

3. Read

He is going to read the letter now. - (ree-duh)
He read the letter a day before yesterday. - (red)

4. Wind

The wind swished around the house. - (win-duh)
Wind the clock up as you leave for school. - (whine-d)

5. Wound

They wound up the clock as soon as they got it. - ( wa-un-duh)
He inflicted a wound from the punch. - (woon-duh)

What are Homophones?

Words that have the same sounds but different spellings are called homophones. Again, it is a subtype of homonyms, and people get confused when these words are used in conversations or general speeches. Some of the examples of homophones are written below.

1. Alter vs. altar

Did you alter this dress? (meaning: change)
He gazed at the altar, and a shiver ran down his spine. (meaning: a high flat place for religious offerings)

2. Boar vs. bore

Boar hunting should be banned. (meaning: animal)
Let us bore oil from this canister. (meaning: to make a hole)

3. Fair vs. fare

Even though he has an irritable personality, he's a fair teacher. (meaning: just)
Do we have your taxi fare? (meaning: price)

4. Genes vs. jeans

They have rare genes in their blood. (meaning: plural of a gene)
I want to pay for this pair of washed light jeans. (meaning: a type of clothing)

5. In vs. inn

There is enough space in the last closet. (meaning: preposition)
We will get you a room at the nearest inn. (meaning: hotel)

Our Final Thoughts

To avoid confusion with homonyms, it is always recommended to read the text again and again, or in the case of homophones, listen to the person talking carefully to avoid miscommunication.