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synonym study for homograph
OTHER WORDS FROM homographhom·o·graph·ic [hom-uh-graf-ik, hoh-muh-], /ˌhɒm əˈgræf ɪk, ˌhoʊ mə-/, adjective
Words nearby homograph
What is a homograph?
Homographs are words that have the same spelling but different meanings, whether they’re pronounced the same or not. Bass (the fish, rhymes with class) and bass (the instrument, rhymes with ace) are homographs. But so are bark (the sound a dog makes) and bark (the covering of a tree).
These two senses of bark can also be considered homophones. You can learn more about the difference in the next section.
There are many homographs in English, including many commonly used words, which can make things confusing, even for native speakers.
What’s the difference between homograph, homophone, and homonym?
Homograph, homophone, and homonym all start with homo-, which means “same.”
The -graph in homograph means “written.” Homographs are words that are written the same—meaning they always have the same spelling—but have different meanings. Homographs can be pronounced the same or not. For example, tear (rhymes with ear) and tear (rhymes with air) are homographs. So are bear (the animal) and bear (the verb meaning “to carry”).
The -phone in homophone means “sound.” Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings, whether they’re spelled the same or not. There, their, and they’re are homophones. Bear (the animal) and bare (meaning “uncovered” or “empty”) are homophones. So are bear (the animal) and bear (the verb meaning “to carry”).
As you can see, the two senses of bear can be considered both homographs and homophones. When words are both homographs and homophones—meaning they have both the same spelling and the same pronunciation, but different meanings—they can be called homonyms.
The -nym in homonym means “name.” The word homonym can also be used as a synonym (there’s that -nym again) for either homophone or homograph.
Overall, knowing what the word homograph means is a lot less important than making sure you use homographs properly so people can understand what you mean.
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What are real-life examples of homographs?
Homographs can be a source of confusion, especially when they’re used out of context.
Yep. I’m a firm believer that folks can tell the difference between homographs given proper context. Shoot a bow, take a bow, tie a bow, a cellist’s favorite bow, the bow plunged beneath the waves.
— Sean (@DailyChef7) November 27, 2018
There's not a ton of homographs I mix up regularly, but for some reason I most always read "polish" (like shoes) as "Polish" (like sausage)
— Finty Prasandhoff (@thynctank) February 23, 2016
Which of the following word pairs are homographs?
A. air and heir
B. play and play
C. flu and flew
D. fly and flew