Homonyms are two words that are spelled the same and/or sound the same but have two different meanings.
An example is “bat.” A bat is the hunk of wood used to hit baseballs, and it is also the name of the arguably adorable winged creature of the night. These two words are spelled the same and sound the same.
An example of a word that is spelled differently but sounds the same is “son” and “sun.” “Son” means a person’s child, while “sun” means that gigantic orange thing in the sky.
Here are more examples of homonyms that are both spelled the same and sound the same:
- address: to speak to / location
- arm: a part of the body / a part of a company
- band: a musical group / a ring
- bark: the outer part of a tree / the sound a dog makes
- bright: very smart / filled with light
- current: up to date / the flow of water
- die: to stop living / a cube labeled with numbers one through six
- duck: a type of bird / to lower oneself
- express: something done quickly / to show your thoughts
- fly: a type of insect / to soar through the air
- kind: a type of something / caring
- lie: to recline / to not tell the truth
- pound: a unit of weight / to beat
- right: the correct answer / left’s opposite
- rock: a type of music / a stone
- rose: to have gotten up / a type of flower
- spring: one of the seasons / coiled metal
- tire: to become fatigued / a part of a wheel
- well: the opposite of sick / a source for water in the ground
Here are more examples of homonyms that sound the same but are spelled differently:
- berry / bury: a type of fruit / to cover in something
- brake / break: to stop / to injure a bone or to rest
- cereal / serial: a breakfast food / to do something repeatedly
- eye / I: a body part / the opposite of you
- groan / grown: an unhappy sound / to have become big
- hear / here: to experience sound / opposite of there
- hi / high: a greeting / up above
- him / hymn: opposite of her / a type of song
- feat / feet: an accomplishment / a body part and unit of measurement
- flower / flour: a type of plant / an ingredient in baking
- flew / flu: to have traveled through the air / a type of sickness
- knight / night: a medieval soldier / the opposite of day
- know / no: to understand / the opposite of yes
- meet / meat: to be introduced / animal flesh
- one / won: the number before two / the opposite of lost
- pail / pale: a type of container / the opposite of dark
- pair / pear: a couple / a type of fruit
- rap / wrap: a type of music / to cover something
- see / sea: to look at something / a big body of water
- weak / week: not strong / seven days in a row
Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.
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5 thoughts on “What is a homonym? (plus examples)”
Speaking of homonyms, can you clarify paint palette mouth palate wood pallet
Do I have those right?
Are they all from different origins and just happen to sound the same?
I so enjoy your exploration of the English language.
That would be a good blog post, wouldn’t it?
I love the Online Etymology Dictionary for questions of word origins. Here’s what it says:
palate: 14th century, https://www.etymonline.com/word/palate#etymonline_v_3004
pallet: 15th century, https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=pallet
palette: 17th century, https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=palette
Yes, you have the meanings correct. And, as you can see from the links, it looks like “pallet” and “palette” both came from an Old French word.
Thanks for sharing this post as, it is highly informative and helpful
Keep up the good work
Thanks for the informative blog! I enjoyed reading it.
Thanks for this informative article. This article will help spoken English learners.