Homonyms: Definition and Words
Homonyms (also called homophones) are words that sound like one another but have different meanings and sometimes slightly different spellings. Some homonyms, however, are spelled the same, like fast (to abstain) and fast (quick, speedy). Some homonyms are spelled differently, like pear (the fruit) and pair (a couple/two).
Homonyms, Homographs and Homophones
The 3 terms – homophone, homograph, and homonym —refer to words that have the same pronunciation, or they have the same spelling (or both) but they differ in their meaning:
Homophones – homo=same, phone = sound. These are different words, sometimes spelled alike, that sound the same. Bear and bear; pair and pear.
Homographs – homo=same, graph=writing. These are words that although they may be spelled the same, have different meanings and may or may not be pronounced the same way. For example, compact: a small item or a make-up holder – Spelled the same, pronounced the same. Wound – as in an injury and also referring to something which is turned – is spelled the same, but pronounced differently.
Homonyms – homo=same nyms=names. It means homophones or a name for words that are both homophones and homographs —alike in both spelling and pronunciation.
However, homonyms have come to mean all three of these terms, and we understand homonyms to be words that sound the same, are spelled the same, or both.
Some Common Homonyms
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Homonyms have come to mean all three of these terms, and we understand homonyms to be a words that sound the same, are spelled the same, or both.