Is there a name for the linguistic phenomenon of a word in language or dialect X with two or multiple meanings that have individual translations in language or dialect Y? For example, escada in Portuguese may refer to a ladder or stairs.

I know this is very common, but I'm wondering if there's a technical term for it, especially when it involves common nouns.

  • 4
    I don't know of a name for it, probably because it's so common—it'll be hard to find nouns that don't have this property. But it's hard to prove a negative, so this will remain a comment instead of an answer.
    – Draconis
    Nov 6 '18 at 15:36
  • 1
    Not just nouns. In German bekommen means 'receive', not 'become'; however, English get can mean both 'receive' and 'become' -- He got new orders; He got tired.
    – jlawler
    Nov 6 '18 at 19:29
  • 1
    Are you asking for a one(morpheme)-to-many(meanings) inside a language or a one(morpheme)-to-many(morpheme) between two varieties ? If it is the former, so you can speak of polysemy or polyreferentiality. If it is the latter, I don't know.
    – amegnunsen
    Nov 6 '18 at 21:27
  • Translation ambiguity?
    – Stefan
    Dec 30 '18 at 15:25

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