If you start analyzing the semantics of the English language, you might notice that there is one big flaw – English has many homonyms. The term unites words that have same spelling and pronunciation but completely different meaning. For English speakers and language learners especially it’s often an inconvenience because they need to guess which exact meaning the author implies.
Luckily, it’s always easy to recognize the meaning when the word is used in context. Nevertheless, people who deal with creative writing need to be familiar with homonymous words and their meanings in order to use them efficiently. The word ‘bachelor’ is a worthy example. We’re all familiar with its meaning in the academic context, however, it has a lot more possibilities of usage. The following selection will introduce you to different interpretations of the word ‘bachelor’ and explain the possible shades of meaning.
unmarried man (noun)
One of the common meanings of the word ‘bachelor’ is an unmarried man. Note that it doesn’t necessarily mean a single man, even someone who is in a dedicated long-term relationship can still be called a bachelor. As long as a man hasn’t tied the knot, he’s still classified as a bachelor. This interpretation is common; however, sometimes the word might carry some extra weight. These cases are described in the three following examples.
available unmarried man (noun)
Contrary to the previous meaning, sometimes the word ‘bachelor’ implies the fact that a man is single and available. It might be a tall order to define whether the term is used in one meaning or another so look for other clues. In most cases when the availability is highlighted, the word ‘bachelor’ would be preceded by the adjective ‘eligible’. If you hear someone being called an eligible bachelor, there is no doubt he’s single and potentially looking to mingle.
unmarried man looking for some fun (noun)
Another type of bachelors unites the men who are not just unmarried and single but also have the reputation of players. Unlike the previously mentioned example, they don’t look for commitment and relationships, but simply want to have fun with women. They usually don’t have girlfriends but prefer the short-term company of ladies. The difference between this and previous meanings should always be checked in order to understand what exactly type of men is being discussed.
belonging to unmarried man/men (adjective)
Sometimes ‘bachelor’ can be an adjective and then it means something that describes an unmarried man. However, it should be noted that in this case ‘bachelor’ is not used to highlight the absence of family status, but rather a lifestyle of unmarried men. In most cases, this adjective will describe accommodation or some objects in it, like a fridge or a bed. A bachelor flat, for example, means a place where no woman is in control.
These four meanings have different subtext implied and can be used in different situations. Knowing them will save you from misunderstandings and using the wrong wording.