Homograph (derives from Greek combination ‘homós’ meaning “same”, and ‘gráphō’ meaning “write”) is a group of words or a pair of two words that share the same spelling with one another, and may be pronounced the same way or differently but invariably mean different things.
Sometimes determining how to pronounce certain words can come with a twist. This is particularly true of Homographs which are words for the same spelling but different pronunciation. However, the difference in pronunciation we may have observed while speaking these words can aid us to distinguish their meanings almost immediately.
Thus: “Advocate | ádvə kàyt” pronounced with a long “a” sound, is a verb and means “to speak or write in support of a course”.
While “Advocate | ádvəkət”, a noun, is pronounced with a short "a" sound and refers to a person who supports or pleads the cause of another.
Relationships Between Homograph, Homonym & Homophone
Homographs and Homophones are subset (type) of Homonym. Opens in new window Homonyms are group of words that share the same pronunciation or sound with one another, but all mean different things. However, confusing though; Homonym is also simultaneously referred to as;
Homographs Opens in new window i.e. words sharing the same spelling with another, but differ in meaning, regardless of their sound or pronunciation e.g. “lead” (to go in front of) and “lead” (a metal).
Homophones Opens in new window i.e. words that share the same pronunciation or sound with one another, but differ in meaning regardless of their spelling e.g. “to/two/too” and “pray/prey”.
The suffix (ending) –graph is synonymous to drawn or written (as to spelling); invariably homographs share the same spellings, while the ending –phone is synonymous to sound or voice (as to pronunciation), so homophones invariably share the same pronunciations.
Some Examples of Homograph
A noun: a characteristic of someone, thing, or an idea.
A verb: to regard an attribute or characteristic to someone or something.
A noun, an enclosed area with buildings within it.
A verb, to make a situation worse.
An adjective: having or indicating a low sound or ranget.
A noun: edible marine or freshwater bony fish.
An adjective: to be pleased, or satisfied.
A noun: something contained inside something.
A verb: to visit a place with regularity.
An adjective: something occurring often.
A verb: to reject or decline to accept.
A noun: a trash or garbage
A noun: to hit something especially with force/a self-serve food bar