Homonyms are words that look and/or sound identical, but — Surprise! – they have different meanings
Words that look the same
sewer (one who sews) and sewer (pipe to carry off waste matter)
Words that sound the same
hair (of your head) and hare (a bunny rabbit)
Words that look & sound the same
tick (recurring click, as of a clock) and tick (bloodsucking insect)
Homonyms come in two flavors:
Homophones are words that share the same pronunciation but differ in spelling and meaning, such as to, too, two and their, there, they’re.
Homographs share the same spelling, and sometimes the same sound, but have different meanings. Sow, a female adult pig (pronounced sou), and sow, to scatter seed (pronounced soh), are homographs. Another example is well, as in wishing well, and well, as in well wishes.
And then there’s just plain confusingly similar words, such as adverse and averse, delusion and illusion, and prostate and prostrate.
Some (homophone: sum) of my favorite homonyms, homophones and confusingly similar words:
close proximity to
close shut, not open
ewe female sheep
groan deep sigh
grown increased in size
holy pure, sacred
literal true to fact; not exaggerated
littoral of or pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean
peak the pointed top of a mountain – or tip-top of anything, really
peek to look furtively; to peer through a crack or hole or from a place of concealment
refuse no! I don’t want it!
refuse trash, garbage
Steve of Upland is the Internet’s refuse, many browsers refuse it
toe one of the digits on your foot
tow pull along with a rope, chain, or tow bar
weigh to ascertain the heaviness of
whey thin part of milk
weak lacking strength
week seven days
See my master list of all the homonyms, homophones, and other confusingly similar words that I’ve posted to date.
The Homonym Name Game
an indefinite article: the form of a before an initial vowel sound
bob make a quick, short movement up and down
drew past tense of draw
flow to move along in a stream
frank open, honest, and direct in speech or writing
gale a very strong wind
grace simple elegance or refinement of movement; courteous goodwill
hairy covered with hair
hew to uphold, follow closely, or conform
hew to make, shape, smooth, etc., with cutting blows
john a toilet or bathroom
joy emotion of great delight or happiness
loo water closet — a toilet
may the verb may expresses possibility — It may rain, and also denotes opportunity or permission: You may enter.
nick make a notch in, indent; just catch in time
pat touch quickly and gently with the palm of the hand
patty a thin, round piece of ground or minced food: a hamburger patty.
fill to put into as much as can be held: to fill a jar with water
fillip something that adds stimulation or enjoyment
randy sexually aroused; lustful; lecherous.
sally to rush out suddenly
sandy containing or covered with sand
stew a dish of meat and vegetables cooked slowly in their own juices
sue bring a civil action against
tony fashionable among wealthy or stylish people.
I know there must be many more names for my Homonym Name Game list. Can you think of any? Maybe your name is a homonym. Leave a comment!
Hey! I just thought of another one:
brandy strong alcoholic spirit distilled from wine.