Always one of my favorite quotes! From Lewis Carrol's Through the Looking Glass:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master-that's all."
Aye, yi, yi, there's the rub, "Which is to be master!"
Yes, many words can mean many different things. as storytellers, there's more: Many words that sound the same can mean even more things! This concept can be used in storytelling for many different effects.
Simple alliteration (repetition of the same letters or sounds) can be of use. In my story, The Princess and the Storyteller Frog, I say that "Frogs from all over the kingdom, came hopping and hoping to marry the princess." This adds a bit of humor as "hopping" and "hoping" are similar, but different.
Take today, for example: "Many people in the office had their work eclipsed by the eclipse. Using the same word with a slightly different meaning can add interest.
Using the same word that has vastly different meanings can cause people to think more, be more curious, or just listen more closely. I have always loved the word, "stem" because it has fairly opposite meanings. It can mean the stem of a plant, or something that holds something else up. It can mean to stop something, like, "Stem the tide." Or it can mean to originate, as in, "This river stems from the north fork." or "This type of thinking stems from inaccurate information." Here's one: "It's unnatural to stem the flow of a river that stems from the depths of the earth."
Using words that sound alike, but are spelled differently, also forces the listener to be more involved. They often have a poetic effect. "The eyes of all were focused on the voters, and when it was over, the ayes had it. And I was not the only one who was eyed with hatred."
And just for fun, you could use the WRONG word for what you mean as in "spoonerisms" or "Malaprops". (see below)
For a lesson in words, meanings, rhymes, etc. go to see a "spoken word" slam or performance. These "poets" use words and language to their advantage in creating images and connections.
They have heeded Humpty Dumpty's advice, and are "well heeled" in the art and use of words and language.