I'm unsure that this question would be on topic as it could prompt a list. If it isn't, can I rescue it?

Words that can be a Noun, Verb or Adjective.

I was posed a question the other day:
"Can you think of a word that can be used as a Noun, Verb or an Adjective?"

One such word would be "light". Are there others beyond some often quoted rude words?

Expanding on this,

Are there any words that could be taken to mean a Noun, Verb or Adjective depending on the interpretation of a single sentence?

Something that would satisfy 2 out of three is "This is a rubbish pile", i.e. is it a pile of rubbish, or a poorly-constructed pile.


4 Answers 4


Strikes me as too much of an open-ended discussion question. There are dozens of acceptable/correct answers. What criteria would distinguish one answer from another for up-voting? How would you narrow it down to accept one as The Answer?

I know not all SE questions have one and only one answer, but I think that's the ideal... hence the 'acceptance' system.

On the flip side, it's kinda an interesting question so I wouldn't necessarily vote to close it right off the bat. Considering the criteria of Good Subjective, Bad Subjective, maybe it's not so bad.


As per the FAQ, this would not be a good question as-is.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped.

If you could narrow down your question to why you need such a word and provide some more context, maybe it would be acceptable.

  • Ahh ok. I don't need a word (just a puzzle), I particularly wondered if such a word exists that would fulfil the 2nd part of my question. Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 12:26
  • There is a precedent for this kind of question: What word can fill the most parts of speech?
  • Puzzle type questions like this tend to be un-favored (I hesitate to say definitely off-topic), because they're so open ended, and tend to be somewhat frivolous or attract frivolous answers and comments.
  • Thanks for the link to that interesting (IMO) question; it certainly answers the first part of my question. Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 15:50

The way to salvage the question - or more precisely, the closest on-topic question I can think of addressing a similar issue - is to ask something like...

I notice that some words can be used as noun and/or verb and/or adjective (e.g. - Tennis set, set alight, set cement). Is there any kind of rule identifying words which can function in several ways like this?

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