Broadside: it means "Verbal Attack"

Aboveboard: means "Honest"

Underwrite: means "Financial support"

Can you please help me understand what are these called? I am aware of Homonyms and Homophones but obviously these words are something different.

I want to know their classification and of course some source where I can learn more about words like these (who appear different but mean different)

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is any collective name for the words you list. Their meanings have evolved over several centuries. To learn more about such words you need to consult a good dictionary that provides the derivations of words.

A broadside originally referred to all the guns along one side of a ship being fired together; the meaning of an angry verbal attack is a metaphor.

Aboveboard refers to card players keeping their hands above the table (that is, not cheating).

Underwrite presumably refers to someone signing their name to a legal document.

  • This makes sense! Thanks very much could you suggest few more words off the top of your head? who look like a combination of two simple words but mean completely different? Oct 24, 2017 at 8:45
  • Dead right, Kate. I found this reference on the Merriam Webster site which confirms your guess about underwriting.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 23, 2017 at 13:09

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