Multiple Meaning Words – Activities, Worksheets, Word Lists, and More

Multiple Meaning Word Lists in Developmental Order

Functional – bat, bowl, can, cold, face, fall, fit, foot, hand, hit, light, mean, park,pet, pitcher, play, punch, ring, rock, roll, run, saw, star, stick, top, trip

Early Elementary – back, bank, bark, bend, block, board, bomb, border, box, bright, brush, cap, capital, change, character, check, checker, clear, count, cover, cycle, degree, direction, draw, drill, even, fall, fire, freeze, force, head, inch, iron, key, kind, letter, lie, line, match, mind, model, motion, mouse, odd, order, past, period, place, point, pole, power, present, property, right, rose, ruler, safe, scale, seal, season, second, shake, ship, side, solid, solution, space, spring, stamp, staple, state, story, stuff, table, tense, track, turn, watch, wave, work

Late Elementary – act, angle, atmosphere, bitter, cast, charge, country, court, credit, current, depression, draft, due, edge, film, flood, friction, front, fuse, gum, interest, judge, negative, lean, matter, motion, organ, party, plane, plot, produce, product, raise, rate, reason, report, school, screen, sense, settle, shock, spell, source, staff, stand, staple, state, tip, wage, volume

Secondary – base, bass, chance, channel, coast, constitution, content, crop, division, formula, gravity, interest, issue, lounge, market, tissue, operation, pitch, process, program, view, value, volume, waste

Basic Worksheets and Activities

Click on the picture for a small preview, or “Doc” or “PDF” to download document in your preferred format.

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(1) Basic Multiple Meaning Word Nonsense Sentences Doc PDF;     (2) Multiple Meaning Word Description Grid  Doc PDF;     (3) Multiple Meaning Pictures Doc PDF;     (4) Word Dice six sided basic Doc PDF;     (5) Word Dice six sided basic 2 Doc PDF;     (6)Word Dice – six and eight sided – template Doc PDF

Multiple Meaning Word Comprehension Strips

Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity.   Click on Odt or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.


(1) Basic Multiple Meaning Words 1 odt pdf;     (2) Basic Multiple Meaning Words 2 odt pdf;     (3) Basic Multiple Meaning Words 3 odt pdf;     (4)Basic Multiple Meaning Words 4 odt pdf;     (5) Later Developing Multiple Meaning Words 1 odt pdf;     (6) Later Developing Multiple Meaning Words 2 odt pdf

Word and Sentence Searches

Click on the picture for a small preview, or “Doc” or “PDF” to download document in your preferred format.

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(1) Basic Multiple Meaning Word Search Doc PDF;     (2) Later Developing Multiple Meaning Words Word Search Doc PDF;     (3) Multiple Meaning Sentence Search Doc PDF

Other Worksheets and Activities

Previews – Click on picture to view a small preview of each activity.

(1) (2)(3)(4) (5)

Documents – Click on Doc or PDF to download worksheets in preferred format.

(1) Later Developing Multiple Meaning Word Nonsense Sentences Doc PDF ;     (2) Later Dev Search and Find 1 Doc PDF;     (3) Later Dev Search and Find 2 Doc PDF;     (4) Matching Cards 1 Doc PDF;        (5) Matching Cards 2 Doc PDF 


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Background Information

These are words that have different meanings depending upon their usage in a sentence. Excessive time in understanding multiple meaning words can provide a delay in understanding that disrupts either reading fluency or oral language comprehension. Much of semantic ambiguity involves multiple meaning words.

Many standardized tests assess words with multiple meanings in their vocabulary sections. Language used by textbooks and teachers are rife with ambiguity, as is much of the humor used in social language (Spector, 2007). Familiar, frequently used words tend to have more meanings than less frequent words. For example, one study found that 72% of the most frequently occurring 9,000 words contained multiple meanings (Johnson and Pearson, 1984). Other research has demonstrated the significance of context in acquiring and testing multiple meaning words. Many factors contribute to the difficulty understanding these words, including context, a child’s previous experience with the words in that context, and the degree of meaning overlap between the words’ meanings (Johnson et al., 1997).

Practice with multiple meaning words accomplishes several things:

1) encourages metalinguistic skills, such as thinking about why certain words have certain labels

2) kills two birds with one stone – learn two words for the price of one

3) prepares for common sections of standardized vocabulary tests

4) provides bridge for working with context

Sometimes words that can be used as verbs or nouns are called multiple meaning words (for example, open, dance, and layer). These words aren’t typically confused for one another. When hearing “The door was opened.” a listener doesn’t typically confuse the possible noun or verb meanings of “opened.” Assessments with multiple meaning words include the LPT, OWLS, and TOLD-I.

Goal Suggestions

Eugene will identify another meaning of functional multiple meaning words when given one meaning.

Charlotte will identify two meanings of age appropriate multiple meaning words.

Dayton will provide one definition of age appropriate multiple meaning words when given another definition.

Pierre will provide two definitions of age appropriate multiple meaning words.

Multiple Meaning Drill Ideas

71 thoughts on “Multiple Meaning Words – Activities, Worksheets, Word Lists, and More

  1. Charles Collins


    I enjoyed your site. I was wondering if our kindergarted class could link to here and use this information for our children?

    If you have more such links we would love to have them within our school.

    C. Collins


  2. Paul Post author

    Yes, you sure can link here. My goal is to promote sharing of ideas and materials, so you are more than welcome to share my site with your class.


  3. swornia thomas

    Hello, my students and I have been expanding our vocabulary skills through the use of this site.Currently,we are sharing multiple meanings and they are truly enlightened. thanks


  4. ching villamayor

    i learn lots of new words and review of some familiar words because our activities are varied and interesting.

    i enjoy going through each one of them.

    more luck and power!


  5. Mike

    I was so impressed with your multiple meaning activities and ideas. I just wanted to thank who ever is responsible for this outsanding site, materials, and time they put into this. What and excellent job! Can’t wait to checkout all the other information on this site. Thanks again! Mike


  6. Alan

    I really enjoy the activities posted on this site. My students will like thinking about the words. Thank you.


  7. Carla

    Hello, I have to say that I am extremelly happy I found your website, I am an ESl teacher in Mexico and you have no idea how many times I go back to your site to get ideas for my classes.
    thank you again !!!


  8. Anonymous

    I am absolutely thrilled with this site. I am a newer speech-language pathologist in my school district and with the many budget cuts to schools I do not have money to purchase materials. Thank you so much for putting this site together. It can benefit a lot of kids.


  9. Anonymous

    Thank you so much. The information provided is very useful! Thank you again


  10. kari

    As a speech therapist, I loved finding this site and worksheets for my students! Thanks so much!


  11. Anonymous

    Thanks so much. I love this site! I’m so excited to start using the materials I found here. Sara


  12. Anonymous

    Excellent ideas — applicable even to a secondary high school classroom!


  13. Anonymous

    anong meron dito……………………


  14. sandra marra

    I have a non-verbal student with autism who is making great strides with language. I realized that part of his confusion lies in abstract words that change meanings, but are part of day-to day directions: “now” “today” “tomorrow” “later.” We used to assume some of these were trigger words, but he truly seems to be trying to understand how these change meaning according to context. Do you have any effective ways to teach these terms?


  15. Paul Post author

    I like focused stimulation – just using the words over and over again in appropriate contexts, and especially having teachers, parents and aids doing that too. Coming up with contrasts is good, such as now versus later, and today versus tomorrow. The student should see how the differences in words affects something functionally for him. Good luck!


  16. Jennifer Worrell

    I had a ball using your silly multi-meaning word sentences with my second graders. I flashed them up on the screen, and I had the kids use them as writing prompts for stories and poems in celebration of Poetry Month. They loved it! Great site!


  17. Anonymous

    love the site very much i found the activities to be very useful…thank you


  18. Peggy A. Strickland

    What an educator’s DREAM! Especially since economic conditions are what they are


  19. Carol Mom

    Thank you so very much for your extending kindness in sharing your work with our students. I was so grateful to find this site because I was at a loss for any more ideas. These are a God send! Wishing you Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year!


  20. Laura Locklear

    I am a special education teacher in Texas and this material is just what I needed to create practice and testing materials for the state alternative test for my 5th graders!


  21. aggiedaisies

    I loved this post! This year I wrote a book for one of my classes and I used some of the tools from your website. I taught a lesson about multiple meaning words to fourth graders and your tools were very beneficial, thank you so much!

    Feel free to check out our blog as well!

    Ruby Luevanos
    Texas A&M Class of 2016


  22. Pingback: Multiple meaning words - Speechbloguk

  23. Adnan ALkinani

    What word means: Field of corn or wheat or To trim unwanted parts from a picture or illustration?
    Give me the specific word to solve this problem , please?


  24. Alesia

    Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you!!!!
    I have a autistic child who is struggling with multiple word meanings. He is taking his last reading gate test for 3rd grade tomorrow and I am hoping this gets him over his hurdle!!!
    I can’t thank you enough for having this site.


  25. Natalie

    I love your website! I look forward to using it with my middle and high school students.


  26. Anonymous

    Can u help me with this problem? It says to draw 2 pictures to illustrate two meanings of the word PITCHER? I’m thinking to draw a tea pitcher and a baseball pitcher, is that what their wanting or would it be like a baseball pitcher and a picture frame? Please help me out


  27. Paul Post author

    A “picture” is pronounced “pikshure” although if it continues to pronounced the same as a baseball and a tea pitcher, as it often is, I can imagine one day it being an acceptable answer. Just not yet.


  28. Olivia

    hello, I think you need put a answer sheet there. So that we can check our works.


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  30. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing. I can stretch out this vocabulary learning goal with plenty of material that you have provided.


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