Pram Jam with David – Warm

Hi everyone! How are you all doing? It’s time for another pram jam post from yours truly and today we are going to perform a little word magic. We are going to take just one little word. It looks the same and sounds the same each time you use it but depending on how you are using it: it can mean totally different things! Amazing!!!

For all you grammar geeks out there a word that can do this is called a homonym. You can check out a thorough explanation by clicking here. Sometimes it’s tricky when words sound the same but can mean different things, especially for kids while they are developing their language skills. Even adults struggle at times. As with most things, this is where context becomes important – and is a crucial linguistic skill to pick up on.

So what word are we going to use as our example? Let’s see … I might need to put my thinking cap on. Hmm … and while I’m at it I’ll just pop the kettle on, make a nice warm cup of coffee and enjoy looking out the window at the miserable winter weather.

Ahhh, that’s better! Nothing like a hot drink to warm you up. That’s it! We have our word:


Now, you might be thinking, but warm only has one meaning, silly! When something has a high temperature but hasn’t got to hot yet. Well, let’s see …

Yes, as a describing word, warm is used to talk about something with a fairly high (but still comfortable) temperature. You might say, “what a warm, pleasant spring evening it is tonight.” Or, “Ah, isn’t it nice to have a warm cuppa on a cold day?”

Link to Catalogue record for Is it warm enough for ice cream?
Link to Catalogue record for The ABC book of seasons

You can even use it to describe things that aren’t warm themselves but are used to keep other things warm! Like, “Johnny, put your warm coat on before you go out it that weather!”

Link to Catalogue record for The jacket
Link to Catalogue record for Have you seen my blankie?

But you can also use warm to describe emotions and feelings: like enthusiasm, affection or kindness. Someone might say, “I’m friends with Jenny because she always greets me with a warm, friendly smile.” Or, “When I do something nice for someone else, mum says ‘well done’ and gives me a big hug and I feel all happy and warm inside.”

There are lots of titles about feelings, as you can imagine. Here’s a sample:

Link to Catalogue record for I feel happy
Link to Catalogue record for Love you hoo
Link to Catalogue record for Goat on a boat

You can even use warm to describe location: near and far – well, just the near bit. When playing some children’s games, like hide and seek or a treasure hunt, you might call out, “you’re getting warmer!”

We’ve done the describing words. Now let’s look at warm as a doing word. Again, we can use it for temperature related activities – “It was so cold out, I had to stamp my feet and clap my hands to warm them up!”

Or you might use it a bit more abstractly, like when you aren’t sure about something but you could probably be convinced to agree – “I don’t know … I may need some time to warm up to the idea.”

So, have we warmed up to the concept of homonyms yet? Has your brain exploded instead?! Was that all a bit much for a pram jam post? When I picked the word warm I thought it would be simple but there were some pretty advanced usages there. Perhaps a bit too advanced for small kids.

Here is a perfect book for starting out (look right, right?) and maybe a list of words with simpler meanings is in order for your first adventures into the magical world of homonyms.


Why not start with these:

Link to Catalogue record for The bat can bat : a book of true homonyms
  • Bark – a tree’s ‘skin’ / the sound a dog makes
  • Bat – used to hit a ball / a nocturnal flying mammal
  • Bright – smart, clever / shining with light
  • Fair – just, even-handed / beautiful / lightly coloured (usually hair) / a large public event or festival
  • Lie – to recline / to tell a fib
  • Match – to pair similar items / a special stick for making a flame
  • Ring – a band on a finger / something round shaped
  • Right – correct, opposite of wrong / direction opposite of left
  • Spring – the season after winter (and before summer) / a coiled metal thingy
  • Well – to be in good health / a hole in the ground to get water

I’d normally finish off with a rhyme that fits our theme but search as I may, search as I might, I could not find a warm rhyme tonight! So snuggle up warm, under your favourite blanky … ’cause if’n you catch cold, you’ll be in need of a hanky!

[Argh. That rhyme is awful! Why won’t anyone fire this guy?! – Ed.]