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Know Your Words: Investigate Changes of Meaning Through Time

In this worksheet, students consider how words can take on new meanings over time.

'Know Your Words: Investigate Changes of Meaning Through Time' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Word Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Root Word Awareness

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

The meaning of many words in our language has changed over time, and some now mean the opposite of what they used to mean.

for example:

If something was described as 'awful' a few hundred years ago it meant it was amazing or full of awe.

 

In this worksheet you will need to work out the old meanings of some common words.

Some dictionaries give the original meanings of words, but if you don't have one of these you might be able to get clues from the words themselves.

Decide whether the following statement is true or false.

 

The word 'hospital' used to mean 'a place for travellers to stay the night and be entertained'.

true

false

Decide whether the following statement is true or false.

 

The word 'tide' used to mean 'time'.

true

false

Decide whether the following statement is true or false.

 

The word 'artificial' used to mean 'full of artistic skill'.

true

false

Which of these was the original meaning of the verb 'to invest'?

to put clothes on somebody

to steal something

to leave somewhere

Which of these was the original meaning of the verb 'to depend'?

to listen

to fight

to hang from

Which of these was the original meaning of the verb 'to tell'?

to sleep

to count

to listen

Which of these was the original meaning of the word 'without'?

on top of

outside

underneath

Which of these was the original meaning of the word 'careful'?

in a hurry

full of anxiety and worry

very happy

Match up the words on the left with their original meanings.

 

There are no clues in the words themselves, so you may have to guess if you haven't got a good dictionary.

Column A

Column B

nice
holy
silly
showing off
brave
ignorant

Match up the words on the left with their original meanings.

 

There are no clues in the words themselves, so you may have to guess if you haven't got a good dictionary.

Column A

Column B

afford
to test
prove
to run away
flinch
to go forward
  • Question 1

Decide whether the following statement is true or false.

 

The word 'hospital' used to mean 'a place for travellers to stay the night and be entertained'.

CORRECT ANSWER
true
EDDIE SAYS
The old meaning stays on in the words 'hotel', 'hostel' and 'hospitality'.
  • Question 2

Decide whether the following statement is true or false.

 

The word 'tide' used to mean 'time'.

CORRECT ANSWER
true
EDDIE SAYS
We still hear this meaning sometimes in words such as 'Yuletide' and 'eventide'.
  • Question 3

Decide whether the following statement is true or false.

 

The word 'artificial' used to mean 'full of artistic skill'.

CORRECT ANSWER
true
EDDIE SAYS
There is a clue in the first three letters of the word!
  • Question 4

Which of these was the original meaning of the verb 'to invest'?

CORRECT ANSWER
to put clothes on somebody
EDDIE SAYS
The word has 'vest' inside it, which is an old word for all types of clothes.
  • Question 5

Which of these was the original meaning of the verb 'to depend'?

CORRECT ANSWER
to hang from
EDDIE SAYS
The word has 'pend' inside it. This is found in the words 'pendulum' and 'pendant', which are objects that hang.
  • Question 6

Which of these was the original meaning of the verb 'to tell'?

CORRECT ANSWER
to count
EDDIE SAYS
Cash machines are sometimes called ATMs, which stands for Automated Teller Machine.
  • Question 7

Which of these was the original meaning of the word 'without'?

CORRECT ANSWER
outside
EDDIE SAYS
We still use the word 'within' to mean 'inside'.
  • Question 8

Which of these was the original meaning of the word 'careful'?

CORRECT ANSWER
full of anxiety and worry
EDDIE SAYS
'Careful' has the word 'care' inside it.
  • Question 9

Match up the words on the left with their original meanings.

 

There are no clues in the words themselves, so you may have to guess if you haven't got a good dictionary.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

nice
ignorant
silly
holy
brave
showing off
  • Question 10

Match up the words on the left with their original meanings.

 

There are no clues in the words themselves, so you may have to guess if you haven't got a good dictionary.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

afford
to go forward
prove
to test
flinch
to run away
EDDIE SAYS
The old meaning of 'prove' is still around in the saying 'The proof of the pudding is in the eating'.
---- OR ----

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