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 English Vocabulary for ESL learners 



MULTIPLE-MEANING WORDS

 English words that have two or more different meanings. 



Word Meaning Example
Bark 1) Noise made by a dog
2) Outer cover of tree
- Some dogs bark a lot.
- Cork comes from the bark of a tree.
Cell 1) Part of an organism
2) A room in a prison
3) Unit of a political body
4) Area of radio coverage
- The body is composed of millions of cells.
- The prisoners were kept in separate
cells.
- There are terrorist
cells all over the world.
- Call me on my
cell phone.
Plain 1) Simple; unadorned
2) Clear; obvious
3) Area of flat land
- Carla looked elegant in a plain black dress.
- His disapproval was plain to see.
- Wild horses galloped over the plains.
Pupil 1) Student
2) Part of the eye
- Hugo was the only pupil to arrive late.
- The pupil is the centre of the iris of the eye.
Ring 1) Piece of jewellery
2) Circle
3) Sound/chime
- The couple exchanged wedding rings.
- The children sat in a ring around the teacher.
- The church bells ring for the morning service.
Row 1) Dispute
2) Arranged line
3) Make a boat move
- Eva had a row with her boyfriend.
- We managed to get seats in the front
row.
- You need oars to
row a boat.
Sole 1) Bottom of shoe/foot
2) Only/single
- She saw a hole in the sole of one of his shoes.
- The child was the sole survivor of the crash.
Tear 1) Liquid from the eye
2) A split in something
3) Move quickly
- I didn’t shed a tear although I was in pain.
- There was a
tear in her skirt.
- Tom started to
tear after the pickpocket.
Tip 1) Piece of advice
2) Small sum of money
3) Extreme end/top
4) Dump
- I found great tips in this cookery book.
- The service was good so we left a tip.
- He showed the word with the tip of his pencil.
- The workmen took all the rubbish to the tip.
Toast 1) Grilled bread
2) Drink to celebrate something
- I usually have tea and toast for breakfast.
- Paul raised his glass to toast the bridal couple.
Vain 1) Excessive pride
2) Unsuccessful; futile
- Eva is vain; she has a high opinion of herself.
- I told a joke in a vain attempt to cheer him up.




Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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