the many meanings of a bow
October 7, 2010 Leave a comment
According to Wikipedia,
In linguistics, a homonym is, in the strict sense, one of a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings (in other words, are both homographs and homophones), usually as a result of the two words having different origins.
Isn’t it fascinating that English has homographs which are not homophones, for instance lead (/liːd/ or /led/), live (/lɪv/ or /laɪv/), read (/riːd/ or /red/), row (/rəʊ/ or /raʊ/)… How one is supposed to know which read is used in the phrase:
In English, there are three homographs of bow, of which only two are true homonyms:
- bow /bəʊ/ (a) a weapon (to shoot arrows); (b) fiddlestick; (c) a type of knot
- bow /baʊ/ (a) to incline the head etc. as a greetings, assent, thanks and so on; (b) the corresponding noun
- bow /baʊ/ (nautical term) prow
Some languages, such as Dutch or Russian, use five different words where English uses just one!
|English||bow 1a||bow 1b||bow 1c||bow 2b||bow 3|
|French||arc||archet||nœud de rosette||révérence||proue|