It really surprised me reading the verb resent that I thought and the verb resent that a dictionary explained to me!

resent (v) - to feel bitter or angry about something, especially because you feel it is unfair

But then resent also means something sent again! Consider this conversation between me and my employee

I am still waiting for the document, Vicky. ~ But I had sent it to you.

That one was blank and I asked you to resend it ~ True sir, but then I resent it on the very next moment.*

When I open any dictionary, resent means what I wrote up there, the first thing. But is this use of resent means resent the way I want in my employee example?


3 Answers 3


You've discovered a homograph, and English has quite a few of them:

The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
Let's get out of this wind so I can wind my watch without freezing my fingers.
The bear is getting close; we'd better close the windows.

Usually, context provides enough information to figure out which meaning of the word is intended – including the placement of objects, articles, and infinitives. For example, resent (meaning "to feel bitterness toward") is a transitive verb, and will need an object which usually clears up its meaning.

For example, I think it's fairly obvious which resent has which meaning in this sentence:

I resent the accusation that I never resent the message.

However, if the context is stripped down too much, the sentence becomes ambiguous, and could be interpreted either way:

I resent that message.

Then there is this example:

I resent the message that you resent to me.

which could mean that the message you re-sent to me has hurt my feelings, or it could mean that our mail server is on the fritz, and we keep needing to send everything twice.

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    In the few minutes since I answered, I had a very similar thought to what J.R. has just posted. I'm surprised that in the context of a conversation about emails, you didn't understand the 'send/sent' part of the word and had to look in a dictionary, where you found another, unrelated, misleading word. Certainly there are written sentences which are ambiguous: 'I resent the email we were just discussing'. (It happens to native speakers when speaking, too. In one lesson I referred to 'desertification', which I explained as the process by which good land turns to dessert!)
    – Sydney
    Jul 4, 2014 at 10:57
  • while most of the homograph examples are two words with same meaning but different forms (verb or noun, noun or adverb and so on), both resents are verbs but mean differently.
    – Maulik V
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:13
  • @Maulik - Perhaps so, but resent (to have sent again) as a verb is always in the past tense, while resent (to feel bitterness toward) is the base verb, so the resent in I will resent that tomorrow can never mean "sent again", nor in I could never resent that again. Moreover, it's true that many homographs and homonyms are different parts of speech, but not all off them: He dropped a bow off the bow of the ship; the tear in my shirt brought a tear to my eye.
    – J.R.
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:43
  • yes, to my surprise, the verb resent becomes resented in past tense! That's why I called it a wonder verb!
    – Maulik V
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:49
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    Sometimes in similar cases, such as with resign and re-sign, a hyphen is used to distinguish the two different words. Resign means to quit; re-sign means to sign again.
    – user6951
    Jul 4, 2014 at 13:21

The resent in the dictionary definition is a verb all by itself. It has a related noun resentment, an adjective resentful and an adverb resentfully. In all cases, the 're' is unaccented and the 's' is pronounced /z/ - so close to /r'zent/.

The resent in the sentence is based on send/sent, with a 're-' in front of it to mean 'again', so 'sent again'. The 're' is more accented and the 's' is pronounced /s/ - so close to /ree-sent/.

Dictionaries do not (in fact cannot) include every word derived from another root word when the meaning is clear from the root plus the prefix (or suffix). 'Re' meaning 'again', is a common prefix, and 'send' is a common verb.

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    There are lots of lexical words with re-, but re- affixation is very productive, so you can always make more.
    – user230
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:08
  • @snailplane - that's true of many common prefixes. Moreover, language evolves. For a long time, the word unlike had one basic meaning: "different from." Now, thanks to Facebook, it'll be a verb before we know it: "I had to unlike Joe; he was getting too creepy."
    – J.R.
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:49
  • @J.R. I think unliking comments/posts is already a verb (at least, insofar as I understand its meaning), but maybe unliking Facebook business/pages will be a verb. Moreover, what about de-friending people vs un-friending them?
    – jimsug
    Jul 5, 2014 at 9:57

I would avoid the confusion by writing the word "re-sent" (with a hyphen) for the meaning of "to send again." This may well have a different etymology than "resent," the angry feeling.

In this poem, I used this technique to different my "key word" from a similar one used in a famous song.

  • Does this really answer the question? Seems like the OP wants to know whether resent has the meaning as he defines, rather than an alternate spelling/hyphenation for it.
    – jimsug
    Jul 5, 2014 at 9:56
  • This does not really answer the question. If you have a different question, you can ask it by clicking Ask Question. You can also add a bounty to draw more attention to this question.
    – Kinzle B
    Jul 5, 2014 at 12:30
  • @Zhanlong Zheng:It answers the question for the OP as a WRITER. That is, how can I distinguish between the two when I'm using it. It's true that things are a lot less clear for the OP as a READER. But if we could train people to distinguish the two in their WRITINGS, that would solve the problem overall.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 6, 2014 at 13:59

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