100 Most Important Multiple Meaning Words Kids Should Know

multiple meaning words

Multiple meaning words are just as they sound, words that have more than one meaning. Words like “bat” or “pound” are common examples of multiple meaning words. When we consider words with different meanings, we are usually referring to homonyms, which are words that are both spelled and pronounced the same (such as pitcher, left, or park). Other types of double meaning words can be homophones, which are words that are spelled differently but sound the same (such as two, too, and to) or heteronyms, which are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently (such as present and present). 

Multiple meanings words are often addressed in speech therapy because of their impact on both spoken and written language comprehension. Words with different meanings are very, very common in English and working on them can greatly help children better understand and use language.

Multiple meaning words can be found everywhere. If you aren’t sure where to start, here you will be able to find a comprehensive list of multiple meaning words to help guide you through your therapy sessions or home practice. 

130 Multiple Meaning Words 

Below, you can find a comprehensive multiple meaning words list that includes word meanings. The list is broken down into the 3 common types: homonyms, homophones, and heteronyms. While only 2 meanings are listed for each word, many of these words have additional meanings as well.  

HomonymsMeaning 1Meaning 2
BandA group of musicians who perform together.A strip of material used to hold things together or as an ornament.
BankA financial institution where people can deposit and withdraw money.The edge of a river, lake, or other body of water.
Bat A small flying mammal that comes out at night.A wooden or metal club used in sports like baseball or cricket
BarkThe tough outer covering of a tree trunk.The sound a dog makes.
BearA large mammal with a shaggy coat, found in many parts of the world.To tolerate or endure something.
BeatTo strike repeatedly.The rhythm in music.
BellA hollow, cup-shaped object that produces a ringing sound when struck.To make a bell-like sound.
BillA statement of charges for goods or services.The beak of a bird.
BlockA solid piece of material with flat sides.To obstruct or prevent passage.
BowlA round container used for holding food or liquid.To participate in a game of bowling.
BoxA square or rectangular container with sides and a lid.To fight with fists using protective gloves.
BreakTo separate into pieces or parts.A pause or interruption in an activity.
BrightGiving off or reflecting a lot of light. Intelligent or quick-witted.
BridgeA structure that allows people or vehicles to cross over an obstacle.A card game played with a partner.
BrushAn object with bristles used for cleaning or grooming.To lightly touch something while passing by.
BugAn insect or small creature.. To annoy or bother someone.
CampA place where people can stay in tents or cabins for recreation.To set up temporary shelter in the outdoors.
CanA container for holding food or beverages.To have the ability or permission to do something.
CapitalThe city or town where the government of a country or state is located.Money or assets used to start or expand a business.
CastTo throw something forcefully.The group of actors in a play, movie, or TV show.
ChangeTo make or become different.Coins of lower value used to make purchases.
Charge To demand payment for goods or services.The amount of electricity in an object.
CheckTo examine something carefully.A written order to a bank to pay a specific amount of money.
CircleA perfectly round shape.To move in a circular pattern.
ClassA group of students taught together.A category or division of things with similar characteristics.
CleanFree from dirt, marks, or unwanted substances.To remove dirt or unwanted substances.
ClubAn organization where people gather for a common interest or activity.A heavy stick used as a weapon.
CurrentThe flow of water or electricity in a particular direction.Happening or existing at the present time.
CutTo divide or separate something with a sharp tool.A wound or injury caused by a sharp object.
DateThe day of the month.A social or romantic outing with someone.
DeckA flat surface attached to a building, typically outdoors.A set of playing cards.
DishA shallow container used for serving or eating food.An item or program broadcasted on television or radio.
DrillA tool with a rotating tip used for making holes.To practice or train in a specific skill or activity.
DropTo let something fall from a higher position to a lower one.A small amount of liquid that falls in a spherical shape.
DuckA waterbird with a broad bill, short legs, and webbed feet.To quickly lower the head or body to avoid being hit.
FanA device used to create a current of air.A person who enthusiastically supports a particular team or celebrity.
FieldAn area of open land used for farming or sports.A particular area of study or occupation.
FileA tool with a rough surface used for smoothing or shaping objects.A collection of documents or data stored on a computer.
FireThe heat and light produced by the combustion of materials.To dismiss someone from their job.
FootThe lower extremity of the leg, below the ankle.A unit of linear measurement equal to 12 inches.
FrameThe rigid structure that supports or encloses something.To formulate or organize an idea or plan.
GlassA transparent material used for making windows or containers.A drinking vessel made of glass.
GroundThe solid surface of the earth.To punish or restrict someone, usually by grounding them at home.
HamA type of meat obtained from a pig’s leg.To overact or perform in an exaggerated manner.
JamA sweet spread made from fruit and sugar.To become stuck or congested.
KeyA small metal instrument used for opening locks.A piece of information that allows access or control.
LaceA delicate fabric made with a pattern of holes.To tie or fasten something with laces or strings.
LeftSomething that has remained behind or been forgotten.The opposite side of right.
LetterA written or printed communication addressed to someone.An alphabetic character representing a sound or language unit.
Light The natural agent that stimulates sight.To ignite or start a fire.
MatchA small stick used for starting a fire.A contest or game between two individuals or teams.
MineA place where minerals are extracted from the earth.Possessive; belonging to oneself.
NoteA brief record of something written down as a reminder.A musical tone or sound.
PackA container used for carrying items.To put items into a container for storage or transportation.
PalmThe inner surface of the hand.A tropical tree with large leaves.
ParkAn area of land set aside for recreational purposes. To bring a vehicle to a halt and leave it in a designated area.
PenA writing instrument with ink.An enclosed area for keeping animals.
PieA baked dish with a pastry crust, usually filled with sweet or savory ingredients..A type of chart or graph used to represent data.
PitchThe quality of sound, high or low.To throw or toss something.
PlaneA flat surface with no thickness and extending infinitely in all directions.An aircraft that flies in the air.
PoolA small body of still water.To combine resources or money for a common purpose.
PopTo make a sudden, quick sound.A carbonated beverage.
PumpA mechanical device used to move liquids or gases.To push or force something, often with a repetitive motion.
PunchA forceful hit with a closed fist.A beverage made with fruit juices and soda.
RingA circular band worn as jewelry on a finger.To make a telephone call.
RightCorrect.The opposite side of the left.
RockA hard substance formed of minerals, often found in the Earth’s crust.To sway or move back and forth.
RollTo move by turning over and over.A small piece of bread or pastry.
RowA line of things arranged side by side.To propel a boat using oars.
ScaleA small, thin plate or layer.A tool for measuring weight or size.
SchoolAn institution where students receive education.A group of fish swimming together.
SealA device used to close or secure something.An aquatic mammal with flippers.
ShopA place where goods or services are sold.To look around or purchase items at a store.
SinkA fixed basin with a water drain used for washing.To descend or drop below the surface of water or another substance.
SlipTo slide unintentionally and lose balance or footing.A thin piece of material used to cover or protect something.
SoundVibrations that travel through the air and can be heard.To produce a specific noise.
SpotA small, distinct area or mark.To see or notice something.
SpringThe season between winter and summer.To jump or move suddenly and rapidly.
StampA small piece of paper used to mark or decorate mail.To bring the foot down forcefully.
StarA celestial body that emits light and is visible in the night sky.To feature prominently or receive acclaim.
StateA territory with its own government and borders.To express or declare something clearly.
StickA long, thin piece of wood or other material.To adhere or attach something to another surface.
StrokeA movement of the hand or an instrument on a surface.A sudden interruption of blood supply to the brain, causing paralysis.
SuitA set of matching garments, typically worn for formal occasions.To be appropriate or convenient for a particular purpose.
TableA piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs.To postpone discussion or consideration of something.
TapeA narrow strip of material used for binding or fastening.To record or capture audio or video using a tape recorder.
TieA strip of fabric used to secure or fasten something.To achieve the same score or result in a game or competition.
TrunkThe main stem of a tree that supports branches and leaves.A large storage compartment in a car.
TurnTo change direction or orientation.A chance or opportunity to do something.
WatchA small timepiece worn on the wrist or carried in a pocket.To observe or monitor something closely.
WaveA long body of water that moves in a regular pattern.To move the hand back and forth as a greeting or signal.
WellA deep hole or shaft in the ground that contains water.In good health or satisfactory condition.
YardA piece of land adjoining or surrounding a house.A unit of linear measurement equal to three feet.

1. A flat piece of wood or other material.
2. Feeling uninterested or lacking engagement.
1. Finely ground powder made from grain used for baking.
2. The reproductive structure of a plant.
1. Documents sent through the postal system or electronically.
2. Related to being a man or boy.
1. A single unit.
2. The past tense of win, to have placed first in a competition.
1. Belonging to both of us, possessively.
2. A unit of time containing 60 minutes.
1. Two items that belong together and are matched for use.
2. A type of fruit, typically green, that is rounded on the bottom and more elongated at the top.
1. The top of a structure such as a mountain.
2. To look quickly or secretly at something.
1. Regular, ordinary.
2. A type of aircraft.
1. To have interpreted written material, past tense of read.
2. One of the 3 primary colors often associated with warmth.
1. Something available for purchase at a discount.
2. The part of a ship that is used to capture wind and move the boat forward.
1. To look intently at something for an extended period of time.
2. A series of rising steps that connects different levels of a building.
1. A strong metal made using iron and carbon.
2. To take something that doesn’t belong to you.
1. The star at the center of the Milky Way galaxy that provides warmth to Earth.
2. A male child, in relation to a parent.
1. The hindmost part of an animal extending from the back end of the body.
2. A story.
1. Belonging to a group of other people.
2. A location that is not here.
1. A series of seven days, usually starting with Sunday and ending with Saturday.
2. The opposite of strong, without much strength.
1. To form letters or words, usually with a pen or pencil, on a page.
2. Correct.
HeteronymsMeaning 1Meaning 2
AddressThe location used to determine the location of a person.To speak to a group of people, usually in a formal setting.
BowA decorative item often made of ribbon or fabric used for tying.To incline the body forward, often as a sign of respect or thanks.
CloseTo shut something.Near in distance or proximity.
ContentFeeling satisfied or at peace.The information contained within a subject.
DesertA barren region with little water or vegetation, often very hot.To leave something behind on purpose. 
DoveA small white bird that often symbolizes peace.The past tense of “dive”, to have jumped headfirst into water.
LeadTo guide or direct a person or animal.A heavy, dense metal.
LiveCurrently existing or happening.To reside in a place.
ObjectA physical item that can be seen, and touched.To disagree with something.
ReadPresent tense, the act of interpreting written material.To have interpreted written material, past tense of read.
RecordA collection of data.To document or capture information, sound, or visual for later use.
PresentIn the current time.A gift to another person.
ProduceTo create.Food that is grown for consumption or sale such as fruits and vegetables.
SeparateTo divide apart.Not connected, existing in different places.
TearTo rip or pull something apart forcefully.A drop of clear liquid produced by the eyes when crying.
TireA rubber covering for a wheel.To become exhausted.
WindThe movement of air in the atmosphere.To twist or coil something in a circular manner.
WoundAn injury to the body, often from a cut.The action of twisting something such as a toy, past tense of “wind”.

How to Use Multiple Meaning Words: Strategies and Activities

Teaching multiple meaning words in speech therapy can take time. Because of how many multiple meaning words exist in English, it is simply not possible to directly target them all. Instead, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) will usually select several words that are appropriate for a child’s age and language ability. From there, SLPs will work on teaching the overall concept and aim to generalize the knowledge to new words through various activities.

There are several strategies that can be used when working on multiple meaning words with children. Some strategies may include:

Visual Aids

Using pictures to help children understand the different meanings of words is absolutely crucial. For example, when learning the two meanings of the word “bat”, having a picture of a baseball bat as well as the animal will really help the child understand the two different meanings. Or, for the word “pitcher”, having a picture of a baseball pitcher as well as a pitcher of lemonade.

Picture Matching

For this strategy, it is necessary to have pictures like described above. The SLP or caregiver will then describe the meaning of one picture or use it in a sentence and the child will choose the correct picture to match the meaning.

Practice in Context

Context is very important for teaching words with multiple meanings. Context is often practiced using pictures early in therapy, but eventually the visual aids will fade out. One way to practice in context is to have the child produce 2 separate sentences, using each meaning of the word correctly. For example, “I forgot to close the door” and “You are sitting close to me.”

Fill in the Blank

This strategy works well for children who have independent reading skills, but can be used for younger children as well. The child will be given a sentence and the multiple meaning word will be omitted. They will need to select a picture representing the correct meaning or describe the correct meaning of the word that completes the sentence. This activity is also more effective for teaching homographs. For example, “The girl ____ the book.” And the child must select either “red” or “read” to finish the sentence.

Definition Matching

This strategy is most often used when children have some independent reading skills. They can be given a list of multiple meaning words used in context on one side, and a list of word meanings on the other side. After reading the sentence, they will match the meaning of the multiple meaning words used. This is often done on worksheets, but can be adapted into other activities as well.

Using Synonyms

Teaching short definitions using already familiar words can be a great strategy for helping children learn words with different meanings. For example, teaching that “close” can mean either “shut” or “nearby” may be more helpful than trying to give longer definitions. 

With the right strategies, the possibility for activities is nearly endless. However, some activities that are very useful when working on double meaning words include:

Crossword Puzzles

You may need to look online for this one, unless you want to try and make one yourself. Crossword puzzles are a great way to work on matching the meaning to the word. They can be done with or without a word bank, depending on the age of the child. 


Drawing is a fun way for kids of all ages to show their understanding of multiple meaning words! You can use anything; whiteboards, markers, crayons, or even tablets. All the child needs to do is draw 2 pictures, one to represent their understanding of each word’s meaning. And, bonus points if they can make complete sentences to describe each picture, too. 

Writing Stories

This activity is better for the older child or adolescent. For this activity, provide the child with up to 5 double meaning words and ask them to use them in their story. See if they are able to include both meanings of each word for an extra challenge!


For this activity, if you don’t mind, writing on your jenga blocks can make things a little easier. On the end of each block, write one of the multiple meaning words your child is practicing. You play through jenga just like normal, but each time you pull a block you need to either give 2 meanings or use the word in 2 sentences correctly. If you don’t want to write on your blocks, simply pick a word from a list instead.

Bean Bag Toss

This is a great game that can be played inside or out and keeps active kids moving! If you are playing outside, write down your double meaning words with a piece of sidewalk chalk and give them point values. Or, inside, place pictures or written words down on the floor. When you land a beanbag on that word, you need to provide the 2 meanings. Play to a certain number of points and see who wins! Change out the words after each game for even more practice.

Short Stories

For this activity, you will need to have some stories ready ahead of time, each containing at least 5 multiple meaning words your child has been practicing. Either have the child highlight the words as they read, or stop you as you read when they hear one. After the story is finished, go back and ask them to describe how each word was used and, if possible, which meaning wasn’t used. 


The Benefits of Using Forbrain in Learning

Forbrain is an altered auditory feedback device in which listeners hear their own voice played back 10 times faster due to bone-conduction. Forbrain can be a useful tool in speech therapy and can help improve auditory processing, speech sounds, attention, and memory. Forbrain can be used both in speech therapy and as a home practice tool in activities such as reading books, singing songs, or other activities. For more information on the research done for Forbrain, please check out this article through the ASHA Wire here.


Johnson, C. J., Ionson, M. E., & Torreiter, S. M. (1997b). Assessing children’s knowledge of multiple meaning words. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 6(1), 77–86. https://doi.org/10.1044/1058-0360.0601.77 

Lazar, R. T., Warr-Leeper, G. A., Nicholson, C. B., & Johnson, S. (1989). Elementary School Teachers’ use of multiple meaning expressions. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 20(4), 420–430. https://doi.org/10.1044/0161-1461.2004.420

Natalie Fitzgerald

Natalie is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA. She has earned Master's degree in speech and hearing sciences at the University of North Carolina. Natalie has worked with children of 1-21 years of age and has experience with a wide variety of speech and language disorders such as articulation and apraxia, fluency, expressive and receptive language, and AAC.

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