Some words are so complex and multifaceted that they deserve a day of special notoriety.
I know, I know—you’re already coming up with words like …
While that is the longest non-technical term in the English language, it has only one meaning:
“The act of describing something as having little or no value.”
Hmmm … touché.
Anyway, a profusion of letters really isn’t the point here.
The word I’ve deemed worthy of today’s curtsy is …
(wait for it) …
No, dear, I’m not pulling your leg.
What you may not yet know about “mew” (myoo) is that it’s a master of deceptive simplicity. With just one syllable, mew manages to function as both noun and verb, and it has eight—count ’em, EIGHT—definitions.
A master, I tell you.
See for yourself:
1. Perhaps the most obvious meaning of mew is the high-pitched vocalization of a kitty cat (which is interchangeable as noun and verb).
2. It also denotes the cajoling call of a seagull as well as …
3. the bird itself (namely, the Mew Gull).
4. A “mew” or “mews” is a cage for hawks, commonly used during molting to keep birds relaxed and secure.
5. It also means to molt.
6. In the UK, it’s used in plural form (mews) to refer to stables with living quarters or a row of apartments converted from stables.
7. Similarly, a mew can name a place where one retires or hides.
8. And finally, behaving strictly as a verb, mew can mean to confine.
There’s a lot about mew that you never knew, true?