There are many true homonym pairs where one of the words is a noun and the other is an verb.


Bear as a noun:

The bear is a furry carnivorous mammal, different species of which can be found around the world.

Bear as a verb:

If you choose to smoke, you will have to bear the consequences.

Is there a specific word for these types of word pairs? I want to know if there is a specific term for verb/noun true homonym pairs.

  • @KannE Fixed... – user277286 Dec 20 '18 at 16:06
  • That is correct, I am looking for the correct terminology, more specific than just true homonyms. – user277286 Dec 20 '18 at 16:25
  • You can use the word polysemy, one word, same spelling and different meanings. But nothing as such is known to mean just noun and verb – Barid Baran Acharya Dec 20 '18 at 17:49
  • When different words coincide and become homonyms it is termed 'convergence'. The opposite process is 'divergence' of polysemy. – user307254 Dec 20 '18 at 18:29

These words are homonyms. As they differ both grammatically and lexically, they are termed 'lexico-grammatical homonyms'.

Other examples of such homonyms:

can (modal) - a can,

to seal - a seal (an animal),

to box (on the ring) - a box (a container), etc.

  • There's also bare, the adjective, which is also a homonym. The fact that it's spelled differently is irrelevant. – John Lawler Dec 20 '18 at 16:24
  • To be specific "Lexico-grammatical homonymy generally implies that the homonyms in question belong to different parts of speech as the part-of-speech mean­ing is a blend of the lexical and grammatical semantic components. . There may be cases however when lexico-grammatical homonymy is observed within the same part of speech. , e.g., in the verbs (to) find and (to) found, where the homonymic word-forms: found —Past Tense of (to) find and-found —Present Tense of (to) found differ both grammatically and lexically." (studfiles.net/preview/4536648) As John pointed out this applies to all – user277286 Dec 20 '18 at 16:51
  • homonyms in a different part of speech, while I am looking for just true homonyms which are both a verb and a noun. – user277286 Dec 20 '18 at 16:53
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    Homonyms don't have to share the same spelling. Would there still be homonyms if the speaker and addressee were both illiterate? You betcha. Spelling is just modern printing technology, and is not necessary in other languages (most languages don't even have a word for "spelling" as contrasted with "writing"). Language is oral. – John Lawler Dec 20 '18 at 19:11
  • Such homonyms are termed 'grammatical'. In the past they appeared as the result of reduction of affixes and convergence (Old English 'andswarian - andswaru' - Early New English 'to answer - an answer'). They are also called 'historical homonyms'. Nowadays grammatical homonyms are the result of conversion. – user307254 Dec 20 '18 at 20:09

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