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What is a homonym?

 

Definition
 

Here are three senses of homonym.

 
  • A word that has the same pronunciation as another. Homonyms differ from each other in

    • meaning
    • origin, and
    • usually spelling.
    Also known as:

    homophone (sense 2)

  • Loosely, a homograph
  • Either of two people with the same name
Examples
 

Here are some examples of homonyms in English listed according to sense:

 
  • Words with the same pronunciation but different in meaning:

    • bore and boar
    • two and too
  • Homographs (words with the same spelling but different in meaning):

    • bow 'to bend'
    • bow 'a decorative knot'
Sources
 

Neufeldt 1991 647


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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 26 March 2002

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