Why do words have multiple meanings?

Each new language overlaid another and was woven into local dialects. As a result, the language we know now evolved out of a vast kaleidoscope of multiple definitions for words that lend themselves to a host of meanings, including words that mean the opposite of what they seem to represent.

Which word has 645 meanings?


One three-letter word does much of the heavy lifting in the English language. The little word “run” — in its verb form alone — has 645 distinct meanings.