There are many homonyms in the English language, words that are spelled the same and pronounced the same but have different meanings. A few examples:
- A grizzly bear can bear great weight.
- I stake out the house while perched on a stake.
- I took a bow after shooting my bow.
- Take your pick of any pick or shovel.
- I came to see the Bishop's see.
Are these considered one word or two? Does it perhaps depend on their etymology? Maybe if both meanings can be traced to the same root they are one word and if they derive from different sources they are two? Alternatively, how are words defined? Is it in terms of spelling, of meaning, of origin or a combination of the three? The free dictionary defines word as
A sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning and may consist of a single morpheme or of a combination of morphemes.
That definition can be read as describing homonyms being both single (a word is a representation of sound in writing) and multiple (a word communicates a meaning) words.