Every language I know has them: the same word with wildly divergent meanings, so much so that lexica list them as I, II, III … But I always wonder at the connections between these words, especially in light of what might be called the semantic cluster. For example, in Danish, kort means map, card and short. Why short? Or nød means necessity (cognate with ‘need’), emergency and nut (cognate again). But why nut? Or rather, to ask the lateral question: why necessity and emergency, for they are by no means primary meanings?

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