Homophone

What Is Homophone?

Homophone is a group of words or a pair of two words that share the same pronunciation, or sound alike with one another, but all differ in sense (meaning). These pairs “meat” & “meet” and “bare” & “bear” both sound alike when spoken, hence, they are homophones.

In some cases, homophones occur with same spelling i.e. the word “rose”, as in (a rose flower) and “rose” (past tense of rise) are spelt the same way, but in terms of sense, mean different things. Homophones that share the same spelling are also both homographsOpens in new window and homonymsOpens in new window. However, homophones that occur with different spellings are called heterographs.

Homonyms can be misleading, especially where it is expressed verbally. Hence, proper attention must be given, and the context of the word being used should be carefully examined, so as to clearly construe or ascertain exactly what word is used and what sense is meant at such critical point.

diagram showing relationship between homonym and other linguistic concepts
Fig1. Diagram showing relationship between homonym and related linguistic concepts.

Forms of Homophone

There are specifically related terms used to refer to different types of homophone; these terms are described below:

HomonymOpens in new window A generic name in which homophone and homograph are sub-sets; homonym are group of words or a pair of two words that shares the same pronunciation or sound with one another. Some homonym(s) are spelled the same or differently and they all have separate meanings and origins.

HomographOpens in new window A group of words or a two-word pair sharing the same spelling with one another regardless of their pronunciation (sometimes pronounced alike) but all differs in meanings.

Heterograph — A subset of homograph, deals with words or group of words that share the same sound, but are spelt differently and differs in meanings.

Heteronyms — (Literally “different name”) The subset of homographs (words that share the same spelling) that have different pronunciations (and meanings). Such words include desert (to abandon) and desert (arid region); tear (to rip) and tear (a drop of moisture formed in the eye); row (a quarrel or dispute) and row (as in to row a boat or a row of seats). Heteronyms are sometimes called heterophones (literally “different sound” ).

Capitonym — A group of words that share the same spelling but have different meanings when capitalized (and may or may not have different pronunciations). Such words include polish (make shiny) and Polish (related to Poland; or a descent of Poland); march (walk or advance) and March (the third month of the year in the calendar). However, both polish and march at the beginning of sentences still need to be capitalized.

Multinym — As the prefix “multi” implies, this deals with group of words that share the same sound but all have more than two different meanings and spellings.e.g. “raise”, “raze”, “rays” etc.

Examples of Homophones and Meanings
HomonymsDescription
Advice: (Noun)A formal recommendation or information, usually from a formal authority.
Advise: (Verb)To give guidance or counsel someone, as in: my teacher's advice enable me improve on my studies.
Aid: (Verb)To provide someone with assistance or what is required to get something done.
Aide: (Noun)Somebody as an assistant, usually in public offices.
Alloud: (Adverb)Speaking in such loud manner as to be heard audibly.
Allowed: (Verb) To grant access; allow someone participate in something.
Altar: (Noun)A sanctimonious place; a designated worship centre in religious houses.
Alter: (Verb)To change a state of something.
Bail 1: (Verb)
Bail 1: (Noun)
Bail 2: (Verb)
Bail(s) 3: (Noun)
To release someone from custody temporarily.
Someone who pays for someone's bail.
To empty out water from a sinking boat.
Either of the two woods used to make the cricket. see dictionary for clarification
Bait: (Noun)Food for attracting animals; a means of enticement to lure someone
Bate: (Verb)(Of a hawk) beat wings in agitation and flutter off a perch (term used in falconry)
Bare: (Adjective)literally naked; or lacking coverings.
Bear: (Verb)To hold, support, tolerate something. see dictionary for more sense
Bear: (Noun)A large, heavy mammal of the family Ursidae, of which there are several species, the largest being the Kodiak Bear of the Arctic regions. likewise, see dictionary for more sense
Berry 1: (Noun) A small juicy or fleshy fruit; a soft fleshy fruit that contains many seeds.
Berry 2: (Verb)To hunt or gather berries for consumption.
Bury (Verb)

Bury (Noun)
To put something in hole (bury a dead); to hide something
A city in Lancashire, northwestern England.
Bite: (Verb)To grip something with teeth; Take the bait at the end of the fishing net into mouth.
Byte: (Noun)A unit of computer memory equal to that needed to store a single character.
Bole1: (Noun)
Bole 2: (Noun)
A tree trunk.
A reddish brown clay used as a pigment
Bowl: (Noun)A dish.
Bow: (Noun)

A knot in which the loop remains visible.
A weapon used to fire arrows, consisting of a curved flexible piece of wood and a taut string fastened together.
Bow: (Verb)To bend one's head forward, or to bend forward from the waist, as a signal of respect, greeting, consent, submission, or acknowledgment.
Cannon: (Noun)A large, heavy piece of artillery formerly used in warfare.
A rapid firing gun mounted on an aircraft.
A stroke in which the cue ball strikes two balls successfully.
Canon: (Noun)A general rule, principle or standard guiding a cause.
In the Roman Catholic church, a list of saints. see dictionary for more sense.
Canvas: (Noun)A strong coarse unbleached cloth used to make sails, tents etc… and as a surface for oil painting
Canvass: (Noun)To solicit something from someone, especially policiticians canvassing for votes.
To propose an idea or plan for action.
Complement 1: (Verb)
Complement 2: (Noun)
A thing that contributes extra features to something else and thereby enhances and improves it.
Completing part; a quantity that makes something whole.
Compliment 1: (Noun)
Compliment 2: (Verb)
A statement of praise or admiration.
To praise or admire something or someone.
Days: (Noun)A number of days.
Daze: (Verb)A confused state and unclear thinking, often as a result of unexpected brilliance or shock
Direct 1: (Verb)To instruct someone, To address a letter to designated recipient.
Direct 2: (Adjective)Immediate; personal, in which no body or procedures intervenes; precise, and straightforward.
Doe: (Noun)A female hare, deer, rabbit etc.
Dough: (Noun)A mixture of flour and water, often with other ingredients such as yeast, oil, butter, salt, and sugar, that becomes bread or pastry when baked.

There are thousands more examples but for brevity sake we can't accomodate everything here.

However, we've provided below, a large list of homonyms that ranges from two, three and more group of words with identical spelling and pronunciations, and ofcourse these words means different things.

List of Homophones

For efficient and effective studies, it is recommended you keep your dictionary close whilst studying these homonyms.

addsadsadze (also adz)
adeaidaide
airaree'erereerrheir
aisleI'llisle
awefulawfuloffal
ayeeyeI
baileebaileybailie
bailerbailorbaler
baizebaysbeys
baldballedbawled
basesbasisbasses
belbellbelle
bightbitebyte
boarboorbore
bolebollbowl
bornbornebourn
buybybye
callcaulcol
caratcaretcarrotkarat
caykeyquay
censercensorsensor
centscentsent
centsscentssense
ceresearseersere
chordcordcored
citesightsite
citedsightedsited
citessightssites
dewdodue
dodoedough
doesdoughsdoze
eweyewyou
ewesuseyews
firfurfurr
flewfluflue
forforefour
freesfreezefrieze
gildgilledguild
gnuknewnew
hauthohoe
heighhihiehigh
hoardhoardewhored
holeyholywholly
idleidolidyl
knotnaughtnot
knowsnoesnose
layslazeleis
lealeeli
lochslockslox
maulmaulmoll
marcmarkmarque
meatmeetmete
oarorore
pairparepear
palatepalletpallette
peakpeekpique
pincerpincherpinscher
poorporepour
praiseprayspreys
precedentspresidents
psisighxi
rainreignrein
raiseraysraze
rappedraptwrapped
readredereed
rheumyroomieroomy
rhoroerow
rightritewrightwrite
roadroderowed
seasseesseize
sewsosolsow
slewsloughslue
teateeti
teasteasetees
ternterneturn
theirtherethey're
totootwo
toadtoedtowed
vainvanevein
vialvileviol
wailwalewhale
warewearwhere
wayweighwhey
wealdwheeledwield
weatherwetherweather
we'rewerewhir
whinedwindwine
yoreyou'reyour