Acoustic Post - Homophone definition

By Priyanka Lath

Here in this article, you will explore different concepts of Homophone, Homograph, and Homonyms. I tried to explain all these concepts in simple language, providing ample examples of each so as to make it very clear and precise in terms of understanding the concept and using the fun and pun part of Homophones.

So let’s get started.

  1. Homophone Definition
  2. Homophone Examples
  3. Homograph Definition
  4. Homograph Examples
  5. Homonym Definition
  6. Homonym Examples
  7. Difference between Homophone, Homograph, and Homonym

Homophone

A homophone is a combination of two words”Homo” and “Phone”. Homo means similar and phone means the sound. So we can clearly understand now that homophone is a pair of words with a similar sound but different spellings and different meanings. Thus, the basic feature of a homophone is similar sound or pronunciation. Let’s see the following examples to clear our concept of Homophone.

Homophone Examples

  • Carrot vs carat
  • Ant vs Aunt
  • Buy vs Bye
  • Hole vs Whole
  • Waist vs Waste
  • Break vs Brake
  • Cell vs Sell
  • Foul vs Fowl
  • Genes vs Jeans
  • Fair vs Fare
  • Bare vs Bear
  • Merry vs Marry
  • Bored vs Board
  • Won vs One
  • See vs Sea
  • Hair vs Hare
  • Write vs Right
  • Father vs Farther
  • Die vs Dye
  • Council vs Counsel
  • Altar vs Alter
  • Coarse vs Course
  • Knight vs Night
  • Sole vs soul
  • Cent vs scent
  • Weather vs Whether
  • Hear vs Here
  • Idle vs Idol
  • Tale vs Tail
  • Poor vs pour
  • Floor vs Flour
  • Deer vs Dear
  • Mail vs Male
  • Ball vs Bawl
  • Compliment vs Complement

So from the above examples, it’s quite clear that homophones are spelled differently and carry very different meanings but they sound almost similar.

Homograph

Homographs are words carrying different meanings in different contexts. Simply, it means words spelled similarly, pronounced similarly but carry different meanings. A homograph is again a combination of two individual words “homo” meaning ” “same” and “graph” meaning “written”, so when we read this together we learn homographs are words written or spelled similarly but vary greatly in their meanings.

Mentioned below are few examples of homograph which will make your concept even more clear.

Homograph Examples

  • BOW: A weapon to shoot arrow / To bend at the waist
  • WOUND: Past tense of wind / Injury
  • OBJECT: To disapprove / Non-living thing
  • CLOSE: To shut down / Very near
  • TEAR: To rip apart / Water coming down of eyes
  • SIGN: Symptoms / Signature
  • FIT: Tantrums / Match
  • SPRING: A season / To bounce
  • MEAN: Cruel / To imply
  • BAT: A piece of sports equipment / An animal
  • BOARD: To board a flight or train / Blackboard, whiteboard

Now let’s move forward to Homonyms.

Homonym

If we strictly go by the dictionary meaning then homonyms are both homographs and homophones. If we clearly understand the definition, homonyms are words with identical spelling and pronunciation but differ in meanings. Thus, they are photographs (same spelling regardless of pronunciation) and homophones (same pronunciation regardless of different spellings). A homonym is a Homograph and a Homonym simultaneously.

Homonym Examples

  • LIE: Untruth / To recline
  • BARK: The sound a dog makes / Trees outer layer
  • EXPRESS: To do something quite fast / To express one’s views
  • POUND: An unit of measurement / To beat
  • REAM: A pile of paper / To juice a citrus fruit
  • ROCK: A stone / A genre of music
  • TIRE: A part of the wheel / To grow fatigued
  • JAG: A sharp, jutted object / A crying spree
  • CAN:  A metal  container / Able to

Here is a simple trick to understand a homonym. If you come across a word that does not make sense in that context then check its alternate definition. The word can be a homonym that is, spelled similarly, pronounced similarly but vary meaning wise. It is the duty of the writer to use the pun part of homonyms aptly to convey the meaning readily to the readers.

Difference between Homophone, Homograph and Homonym

HOMOPHONE
Same sound
Different spelling
Different meaning
HOMOGRAPH
Almost same sound
Same spelling
Different meaning
HOMONYM
Same sound
Same spelling
Different meaning

Understanding the concept of homophone can be quite tricky, no matter how proficient you are in English, it’s quite natural to fall in the tricky quirks of homophones. So, homophones are generally termed as ‘confusing words’. I hope this article helps you with understanding it in a simple and easy manner.

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