[ huh-mon-uh-muhs, hoh- ]
/ həˈmɒn ə məs, hoʊ- /
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of the nature of homonyms; having the same name.



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Origin of homonymous

1615–25; <Latin homōnymus<Greek homṓnymos of the same name, equivalent to hom(o)- homo- + -ōnymos named, adj. derivative of ónyma name, -onym (for vowel lengthening see anonymous); see -ous
ho·mon·y·mous·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does homonymous mean?

If two words are described as homonymous, it means they are homonyms—words that have different meanings but are pronounced the same or spelled the same or both.

Homonymous can also mean having the same name.

The word homonym can be used as a synonym for both homophone and homograph. It can also be used to refer to words that are both homophones and homographs.

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. But so are bark (the sound a dog makes) and bark (the covering of a tree).

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).

As you can see, the two senses of bark can be considered both homographs and homophones. The word homonym can also be used to refer to such words—meaning they have both the same spelling and the same pronunciation, but different meanings.

The related noun homonymy refers to the relationship between words that are homonyms.

Example: Many English words are homonymous, which can make things confusing, even for native speakers.

Where does homonymous come from?

The first records of the word homonymous come from around 1620. It is a combination of homo-, meaning “same,” -nym, meaning “name,” and -ous, which is used to form adjectives. Similarly, two words that are synonyms can be described as synonymous.

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.

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.

So words described as homonymous might be spelled the same, pronounced the same, or both.

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What are some other forms related to homonymous?

What are some synonyms for homonymous?

What are some words that share a root or word element with homonymous

What are some words that often get used in discussing homonymous?

How is homonymous used in real life?

It is much more common to say two words are homonyms than to describe them as homonymous.



Try using homonymous!

Which of the following word pairs could be considered homonymous?

A. air and heir
B. bare and bear
C. bear and bear
D. all of the above

Medical definitions for homonymous

[ hō-mŏnə-məs, hə- ]


Having the same name.
Relating to the same sides of a field of vision.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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