Question & Answer Archive
Home / Archive / English
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)
Can a person inherit a particular language disposition that is better suited to learn in one language over another?
If you had an opportunity to prefix any abnormalities in a person would you or would you not?
How do you teach english to a person who speaks a forigen language so they catch on fast?
Two things to keep in mind when you are deciding whether to use formal or informal english are the?
Does it mean he loves you when he says he cares for you very deeply if its coming from a shy man?
What are the parts of speech in the phrase the late anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey?
What is the difference between basic research applied research and technological development?