Synonyms  Antonyms

 

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Homonyms

Homonyms are words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but mean different things. This also makes them both homographs and homophones.

In the strictest sense, then, words like left (opposite of right) and left (past tense of leave) are true homonyms.


In a wider sense, however, homonyms can also include words that share the same spelling (regardless of pronunciation) or share the same pronunciation (regardless of spelling.) In other words, they can be homographs or homophones.

This is more likely the case when dealing with typical homonyms.

In this wider sense, then, words such as aisle (meaning walkway) and I'll (contraction of 'I will'), and ant (small insect) and aunt (parent's sister), are also considered homonyms.

The word homonym comes from combining the Greek prefix homo (χομο) meaning "same" and suffix onymos (ώνυμος) meaning "name." So, it literally means having or sharing the same name although we typically define it as words that share the same spelling, regardless of how they are pronounced.


If they are pronounced the same, then we also call them homphones (more on those on another page). And if they are pronounced differently then they are called heteronyms. (more on those on another page)

To go to the next page containing homophones just click on homonyms.

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