Consider the following sentence.
John used to work for the newspaper that you are reading.
(It has been collected from here.)
"Newspaper" has several well-known senses.
Newspaper could mean a company:
John used to work for the newspaper.
It could also mean the physical object:
the newspaper that you are reading.
It should be readily apparent that John never worked for that ink-on-died-wood-pulp in front of you. It should also be clear that you are not reading a company. In the first sentence, though, the word seems to take both senses at the same time.
@Nigelj provided another example:
I was going to dust but there wasn't any
Here, dust is first used as a verb and then as a noun—not only having a different word sense but also being a different part of speech.
I am looking for a name for this occurrence to look it up in a reference book or textbook. It is of interest to me because it is a case that is often neglected by computational word-sense-disambiguation systems.
Terms that I have considered but are not (to my knowledge) correct for describing this:
- polyseme / homonym : a word holding multiple senses at the same time can of-course only occur with words that have multiple senses in the first place. But not all uses of words with multiple senses exhibit the behavior.
- Syntactic ambiguity/amphiboly/amphibology: this sentence is un-ambigious. It only has one interpretation.
- Antanaclasis: the word newspaper is only used once, but with two meanings.
- Pun: pun's generally rely on two different interpretations of the word, separately to give the sentence two possible meanings. Not at the same same time to give the sentence 1 meaning (also they tend to be funny)