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Examples

  • Like neurosis, polysemania afflicts us all to some degree; the occasional registering of an unintended pun might almost be taken as a proof, or at least a condition, of our semantic competence (just as various mild neuroses are the lot, and the proof, of our Western humanness, Freud suggested).

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XII No 3

  • The fact is, it seldom generates fully paralyzing polysemania.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XII No 3

  • The history of linguistic taboo even reveals a mild kind of mass polysemania: the discontinuation of ādl, ` illness, 'in Old English (to be replaced by the euphemism disease) through a clash with adela, ` dirt,' was not the work of some individual polysemaniac; similarly, the 20th-century decline, noted by Bloomfield, in the use of cock in American English to refer to a male chicken points to a nationwide awareness of and embarrassment at the awkward dual meaning of the word.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XII No 3

Comments

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  • Let it be noted that of the twelve resource icons listed above only Google Book Search lists anything with three book citings of the word polysemania. One is a compilation of articles from Verbatim® Quarterly!

    Thank you whichbe for a first comment on one of my word postings!

    August 3, 2008

  • This is both a curse and a skill. I am often described this way by my friends... I blame the Hypnotherapy training.

    August 3, 2008

  • polysemania pol·y·se·ma·ni·a n POLYSEMY + MANIA ; syncope of polyseimania: compare mineralogy (1985) an abnormal awareness of possible ambiguity; an uncontrollable tendency to bring to mind the inappropriate or unintended sense of a word in any context.

    From an article Polysemania, Semantic Taint, and Related Conditions by John Ellison Kahn, appearing in Verbatim®, The Language Quarterly, Vol. XII, No. 3 Winter 1986.

    My Favorite Word!

    August 3, 2008