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Homonyms

Homonyms are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things. In the sentence "The two boys want to play too." the three highlighted words are pronounced identically, but in each case the spelling is different. To, too, and two are homonyms.

There are hundreds of pairs of homonyms in the English language, far too many for us to list them all here. So we will concentrate on groups of homonyms in which three (sometimes more) words are all pronounced identically.

You may find that in the dialect you speak, some of these are not actually homonyms. There tend to be far more homonyms in American and Scottish varieties of English, for example, than standard British English. This is because standard British English distinguishes more vowel sounds, and thus some of the words listed below would not be pronounced identically by some speakers.

Homonym Groups

Here are 88 groups of three or more English homonyms, listed in alphabetical order.

 addsadsadze   
 adeaidaide   
 airaree'erereerrheir
 aisleI'llisle   
 awefulawfuloffal   
 ayeeyeI   
 baileebaileybailie   
 bailerbailorbaler   
 baizebaysbeys   
 baldballedbawled   
 basesbasisbasses   
 belbellbelle   
 bightbitebyte   
 boarboorbore   
 bolebollbowl   
 bornbornebourn   
 buybybye   
 callcaulcol   
 caratcaretcarrotkarat  
 caykeyquay   
 censercensorsensor   
 centscentsent   
 centsscentssense   
 ceresearseersere  
 chordcordcored   
 citesightsite   
 citedsightedsited   
 citessightssites   
 dewdodue   
 dodoedough   
 doesdoughsdoze   
 eweyewyou   
 ewesuseyews   
 firfurfurr   
 flewfluflue   
 forforefour   
 freesfreezefrieze   
 gildgilledguild   
 gnuknewnew   
 hauthohoe   
 heighhihiehigh  
 hoardhordewhored   
 holeyholywholly   
 idleidolidyl   
 knotnaughtnot   
 knowsnoesnose   
 layslazeleis   
 lealeeli   
 lochslockslox   
 mallmaulmoll   
 marcmarkmarque   
 meatmeetmete   
 oarorore   
 pairparepear   
 palatepalletpallette   
 peakpeekpique   
 pincerpincherpinscher   
 poorporepour   
 praiseprayspreys   
 precedenceprecedentspresidents   
 psisighxi   
 rainreignrein   
 raiseraysraze   
 rappedraptwrapped   
 readredereed   
 rheumyroomieroomy   
 rhoroerow   
 rightritewrightwrite  
 roadroderowed   
 seasseesseize   
 sewsosolsow  
 slewsloughslue   
 teateeti   
 teasteasetees   
 ternterneturn   
 theirtherethey're   
 totootwo   
 toadtoedtowed   
 vainvanevein   
 vialvileviol   
 wailwalewhale   
 warewearwhere   
 wayweighwhey   
 wealdwheeledwield   
 weatherwetherwhether   
 we'rewerewhir   
 whinedwindwined   
 yoreyou'reyour   

Homonym Poem (Oronym)

An Ode to the Spelling Chequer

Prays the Lord for the spelling chequer
That came with our pea sea!
Mecca mistake and it puts you rite
Its so easy to ewes, you sea.

I never used to no, was it e before eye?
(Four sometimes its eye before e.)
But now I've discovered the quay to success
It's as simple as won, too, free!

Sew watt if you lose a letter or two,
The whirled won't come two an end!
Can't you sea? It's as plane as the knows on yore face
S. Chequer's my very best friend

I've always had trubble with letters that double
"Is it one or to S's?" I'd wine
But now, as I've tolled you this chequer is grate
And its hi thyme you got won, like mine.

                        Janet E. Byford

A similar poems is in our oronym section. Homonyms are very closely related to oronyms and homophones. Also on a similar theme to oronyms are mondegreens. Why not visit the mondegreens page of our malapropisms section to find out more?

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