For the record, ‘datirism’ (n) means ‘a compulsive impulse to fail to make any sense (or anagram) of a given item of input.’ But that’s not important now.
More to the point, I was led to remember a recent complaint that there were far too many words which all mean the same thing. I disagreed, but now I’m thinking about the converse: one word which, though spelt and pronounced the same, means two or more quite different things. Diverted by this idea, and exploring ‘pan’, ‘lie’ and ‘waffle’, I was diverted by Chambers’ totally irrelevant definition of ‘page three’, which I can’t resist quoting in full, because it’s classic Chambers: ‘the page on which, traditionally, certain popular newspapers print nude or semi-nude photographs of female models with well-developed figures.’
Don’t you just love that ‘traditionally’? I could quibble with the syntax – a photograph cannot be nude or semi-nude – but that’s not important either.
So, to come to the important point, consider the word ‘bid’. This has two distinct meanings, from two quite different roots, which can be summarised as 1) to offer, and 2) to command. Here is a snatch of dialogue, possibly from Jane Austen or P G Wodehouse:
ARCHIE: I bid you, Clarinda –
CLARINDA: In what sense, Archie, do you say ‘bid’?
ARCHIE: Forgive me, my darling. I said ‘bid’. I meant to say ‘bid’.