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 part of speech is temple in the sentence Hannah went to the temple and wept and begged God for a son?

Is this a compund sentence She bought me a guitar so I learned how to play it.?

Change the following into passive voice I believed that she was the best in her group?

What is the longest word in the English language including the letters d b f?

What is the meaning behind the name Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream Is it evil?

Are there any exceptions or reasons why some plural words ending in o have es at the end?

What is conventional medicine and is it different from herbal or traditional or alternative medicine?