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By Judy Vorfeld

Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, & Heteronyms

HOMONYM: One of two or more words hav­ing the same sound and often the same spelling but dif­fer­ent mean­ings. Examples: quail (cower), and quail (bird) fair (appear­ance), fair (county fair), and fair (reasonable).

HOMOPHONE: One of two or more words pro­nounced the same but dif­fer­ent in mean­ing, ori­gin, and some­times spelling. Examples: cite, sight, and site; sea and see; your and you’re; bow and bough.

HOMOGRAPH: One of two or more words spelled alike but dif­fer­ent in ori­gin, mean­ing, and some­times pro­nun­ci­a­tion. Examples: bow of a ship, a bow and arrow, and a bow (deference/manners).

HETERONYM: One of two or more words that are spelled the same but that dif­fer in pro­nun­ci­a­tion and mean­ing. Examples: bass (voice) and bass (fish); pol­ish (shine) and Polish (from Poland); tear (rip) and tear (from eye).
Some excel­lent sites:

English Homophones
The Heteronym Homepage
Shades of Meaning
One-trick Words
Alan Cooper’s Homonyms
Self-study Homonym Quizzes
Homonym Game
Professor Darling’s Notorious Confusables


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