Abstract According to several current frameworks, semantic processing involves an early influence of language-based information followed by later influences of object-based information (e.g., situated simulations; Santos, Chaigneau, Simmons, & Barsalou, 2011). In the present study we examined whether these predictions extend to the influence of semantic variables in visual word recognition. We investigated the time course of semantic richness effects in visual word recognition using a signal-to-respond (STR) paradigm fitted to a lexical decision (LDT) and a semantic categorization (SCT) task. We used linear mixed effects to examine the relative contributions of language-based (number of senses, ARC) and object-based (imageability, number of features, body-object interaction ratings) descriptions of semantic richness at four STR durations (75, 100, 200, and 400ms). Results showed an early influence of number of senses and ARC in the SCT. In both LDT and SCT, object-based effects were the last to influence participants’ decision latencies. We interpret our results within a framework in which semantic processes are available to influence word recognition as a function of their availability over time, and of their relevance to task-specific demands.