Question & Answer Archive


Category:


Home / Archive / English

Question:

A word with the same spelling but different in meaning?



Answer:
Words that have the same spelling, and the same pronunciation, but different meanings are called homonyms. Examples are beat (rhythm) and beat (to whip, as eggs). But this term is also (confusingly) used for words that simply have the same sound (pronunciation), such as eight and ate. These are more correctly called homophones (sound alike words).

If they have the same spelling, but different pronunciations, they are homographs. (written the same) such as sow (female pig) and sow (to seed), or the tenses read (pronounced reed) and read (pronounced red). Homographs require a context clue to determine how they are pronounced.

There are a great number of homophones in English.
(see the related question for examples)

---

Autoantonyms (contranyms) are words that can have opposite meanings depending on their context (e.g. fast can mean "moving quickly" or "fixed firmly in place

---
Homonyms, homophones, and homographs
Think of it like this:
HomoNYM is the same (homo) in name (nym, here meaning spelling).
HomoPHONE sounds the same, as in the word "telephone."
HomoGRAPH means written (graph) the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (went up).

(for more information, see the Related Links below this box)

Related Questions:
What literary techniques are used in the song bigger than love by my favourite highway?

How does Paris explain the sudden haste of the marriage plans in romeo and juliet?

Which would be correct The Smiths with an apostrophy or The Smiths without an apostrophy when printing an invitation and noting who the hosts are?

What do you call a word that can b spelled backwards and forwards as 2 different words?

What is the type of graph that is useful for showing trends or continuous change is?

What is the word for when someone says something then says the opposite it starts with an I?

How do you correct this sentence Concentration does not mean think only one idea?