This article is from the Puzzles FAQ, by Chris Cole firstname.lastname@example.org and Matthew Daly email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
What word in the English language is the most ambiguous?
What is the greatest number of parts of speech that a single word
can be used for?
In Webster's Ninth, "set" occupies 1.2 columns, has 25 vb entries, 11 vi
entries, 23 noun entries, 7 adjective entries; "take" occupies 1.3 columns,
has 19 vb entries, 8 vi entries, 4 noun entries.
The word "like" occupies eight parts of speech:
verb "Fruit flies like a banana." noun "We may never see its like again." adjective "People of like tastes agree." adverb "The rate is more like 12 percent." preposition "Time flies like an arrow." conjunction "They acted like they were scared." interjection "Like, man, that was far out." verbal auxiliary "So loud I like to fell out of bed."