Thursday, February 25, 2010

Homonyms

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Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. Homonyms can also be words that sound the same when you pronounce them, but have different meanings. I know most of you know these words and their different meanings; it's just kind of fun to see them and realize how many homonyms there are in the English language. Here's a sampling (there are so many more!):

aid – to help or assist
aide – assistant

affect – change
effect – result or consequence

air – atmosphere (the stuff we breathe)
err – to make a mistake

aisle – walkway
I’ll – I will
isle – island

allowed – permitted
aloud – out loud

ant – picnic pest
aunt – relative, as in your mom’s sister

ate – chewed up and swallowed
eight – number after seven

bank – embankment
bank – place where money is kept

bare – uncovered
bear – grizzly animal

berry – fruit from a bush
bury – to put underground

base – bottom part
bass – deep or low

be – to exist
bee – buzzing insect

beach – sandy shore
beech – type of tree

beat – to pound
beet – type of edible plant

berth – tie up
birth – to be born

bite – nibble
byte – 8 bits (computer data)

blew – past of blow
blue – color of ocean

boar – pig
bore – not interesting

borough – area or district
burrow – dig through
burro – small donkey

bough – branch
bow – bend or curtsy

buoy – floater
boy – young man

brake – stop pedal
break – smash

bread – bakery food
bred – form of breed

broach – mention
brooch – pin

brows – eyebrows
browse – look around

buy – purchase
by – beside
bye – short for goodbye

cell – compartment
sell – vend

cent – penny coin
sent – did send

cereal – breakfast food
serial – sequential

Chile – country in South America
chili – bean stew
chilly – frosty

chord – musical tone
cord – rope

cite – quote
site – location
sight – view

complement – enhance; go together
compliment – praise

council – committee
counsel – guidance

creak – squeak
creek – stream of water

crews – gangs
cruise – ride on a boat

dear – darling
deer – woodland animal

dew – morning mist
do – operate
due – payable

die – cease to exist
dye – color

doe – female dear
dough – uncooked bread

dual – double
duel – battle

ewe – female sheep
you – second-person personal pronoun

eye – sight organ
I – me

fair – equal
fare – price

fairy – elf-like creature with wings
ferry – boat

faze – impact
phase – stage

feat – achievement
feet – plural of foot

fir – type of tree
fur – animal hair

flea – small biting insect
flee – run

flew – did fly
flu – illness

flour – powdery, ground up grain
flower – blooming plant

for – on behalf of
fore – front
four – one more than three

forth – onward
fourth – number four

knew – did know
new – not old

gorilla – big ape
guerrilla – warrior

groan – moan
grown – form of grow

hair – head covering
hare – rabbit-like animal

hall – passageway
haul – tow

hay – animal food
hey – interjection to get attention

heal – mend
heel – back of foot

hi – hello
high – up far

hoarse – croaky
horse – riding animal

hole – opening
whole – entire

holey – full of holes
holy – divine
wholly – entirely

hour – sixty minutes
our – belonging to us

knead – massage
need – desire

knight – feudal horseman
night – evening

knot – tied rope
not – negative

know – have knowledge
no – opposite of yes

lead – metal
led – was the leader

lessen – make smaller
lesson – class

loan – lend
lone – solitary

made – did make
maid – servant

mail – postage
male – opposite of female

marry – to wed
merry – very happy

meat – animal protein
meet – encounter

none – not any
nun – woman who takes special vows

oar – boat paddle
or – otherwise
ore – mineral

oh – expression of surprise or awe
owe – be obligated

one – single
won – did win

overdo – do too much
overdue – past due date

pail – bucket
pale – not bright

pain – hurt
pane – window glass

peace – calm
piece – segment

peak – highest point
peek – glance

plain – ordinary
plane – flight machine or flat surface

pole – post
poll – survey

poor – not rich
pour – make flow

pray – implore God
prey – quarry

principal – most important
principle – belief

rain – water from sky
rein – bridle

rap – tap
wrap – drape around

real – factual
reel – roll

right – correct; not left
write – scribble

ring – encircle
wring – squeeze

role – function
roll – rotate

rose – flower
rows – lines

sail – move by wind power
sale – bargain price

scene – landscape
seen – viewed

sea – ocean segment
see – observe with eyes

seam – joining edge
seem – appear

sew – connect with thread
so – as a result
sow – plant

soar – ascend
sore – hurt place

sole – single
soul – essence

some – a few
sum – amount

steal – swipe
steel – alloy

tail – animal’s appendage
tale – story

their – belonging to them
there – at that place
they’re – they are

to – toward
too – also

toe – foot appendage
tow – pull along

vary – differ
very – much

wail – howl
whale – huge swimming mammal

waist – area below ribs
waste – squander

wait – kill time
weight – measurable load

war – battle
wore – did wear

warn – caution
worn – used

way – path
weigh – measure mass

we – us
wee – tiny

weak – not strong
week – period of seven days

weather – climate
whether – if

which – that
witch – sorcerer

your – belonging to you
you’re – you are


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19 comments:

  1. At first I thought you just put that for sale sign in to see if we read the whole post! Too funny! I knew all the words, but seeing them next to each other made me question them.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  2. Michele: LOL! Isn't that a riot? It never fails to amaze me some of the things that make it to print!

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  3. Hadn't really thought about how many there are. This list really makes you stop and think. Love the photo. :)

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  4. Homonyms sounds like a southern dish - LOL!

    A couple of those I always have to stop and think about before I write the word.

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  5. I always thought homonyms sounded like food also. Great post.
    Karen

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  6. Love the loooooooooong list. And the For Sale sign, while a rather coarse joke, was extremely funny, of course. (wink)

    The Old Silly

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  7. What a great list! Makes me so greatful that English is my first language!!

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  8. Great list. When I was in high school, I had such a problem with Chile vs chili. - And I had a friend from Chile!

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  9. Alex: Thanks for the compliment!

    Mason: It was a challenge putting the list together because there are so many it was so hard for a word lover like me to stop! LOL!

    Diane and Karen: Too funny! I always think of hominy myself!

    Marvin: I know how you long for long lists – no wait. You love long posts, don't you? LOL!

    CC: Glad you like the list! I too am GRATEFUL that English is my native language! ♥ hehehe

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  10. It all comes down to one thing, doesn't it? Write right.

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  11. Elspeth: Absolutely! Errors in spelling go beyond just misspelling! It could lend an entirely different meaning to what you're writing – and spell check isn't going to catch that!

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  12. Wow! That was a lot of homonyms. My dyslexic husband has real trouble with these; because he doesn't know some are spelled different, he doesn't understand how we readers ever tell them apart.

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  13. I think your blog is great! Very helpful :o)

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  14. Niki: Thank you! What a kind thing to say, and I really appreciate it!

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  15. And what about poor/pour/paw and to/too/two - the list goes on and on. (Those additional words came to mind because I based a lesson on homophones just today. They're quite fun to teach - in small doses.)

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  16. What fun, especially the photo. I see these errors way too often in our local paper and on billboards. Or is that billboreds?

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  17. Leigh: What a coincidence! I agree, homonyms are best in small doses. I'm afraid I got a little carried away being a lover of words. They were all so good! LOL!

    Kathy: My local newspaper too; just about everywhere, actually.. I cringe when I see such obvious mistakes. Love your example!

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  18. Great post! I didn't realize homonyms could be words that sounded alike. Thanks for sharing!

    Corra

    from the desk of a writer

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