The Most Complicated Word In the English Language Is Only 3 Letters Long

Imagine you’re a dictionary editor and it’s your job to ensure that the reference book keeps pace with the ever-expanding English language. Where do you start? You pick up two boxes of citations for words beginning with the letter R, and that’s when you realize that the hundreds of scraps of paper showing each word in every possible context are actually for a single word: “run.” How can three little letters be responsible for so much meaning? Context is everything. Think about it: When you RUN a fever, those three letters have a very different meaning than when you RUN a bath — or when the water from that bath overflows, drenching your rug and you have to RUN out to the store to buy a new one. There, you RUN up a bill of $85 because you also need some thread to fix the RUN in your stockings, some tissues because your allergies have made your nose RUN, and a carton of milk because you’ve RUN out. All this makes dread RUN through you because your value-club membership is due to RUN out at the end of the month and you’ve already RUN over your budget. That means that you’re low on gas and not sure your car will RUN long enough to get you home. With your ability to keep all this straight, maybe you should RUN for office. In case you think we’ve RUN amok talking about this three letter word, consider that there are actually 645 meanings for it.