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Words nearby homonymy
What does homonymy mean?
Homonymy is the relationship between words that are homonyms—words that have different meanings but are pronounced the same or spelled the same or both.
It can also refer to the state of being homonyms.
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 adjective homonymous describes words that are homonyms.
Example: Homonymy between words that are spelled the same is often more obvious than homonymy between words that are pronounced the same but spelled differently.
Where does homonymy come from?
The first records of the word homonymy come from around 1550. It is a combination of homo-, meaning “same,” -nym, meaning “name,” and -y, which is used to form abstract nouns. Similarly, the relationship between synonyms (or the state of being synonyms) can be called synonymy.
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 homonymy can involve words that are spelled the same, pronounced the same, or both.
In biology, the word homonym is used in a more specific way to refer to a name for a species or genus that should be unique but has been used for two or more different organisms. In this context, homonymy refers to the state of having the same name or designation.
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What are some other forms related to homonymy?
- homonym (noun)
What are some synonyms for homonymy?
What are some words that share a root or word element with homonymy?
What are some words that often get used in discussing homonymy?
How is homonymy used in real life?
It is much more common to say two words are homonyms than to describe them as being in a state of homonymy.
Eh, homonymy and homography are the banes of many a language. XD English is still *comparatively* easy to learn. https://t.co/uDL9tBUi8Y
— Nick Hunter (@nhSnork) August 13, 2017
I've said metonymy way more than I've ever said metonym (maybe never?). And the inverse goes for homonym/homonymy!
— David Kwong (@davidkwong) August 3, 2020
The most beautiful sentence I have ever read: Homonymy can lead to communicative conflicts and thus trigger lexical (onomasiological) change
— Karl Sharro ***** ***** ***** **** (@KarlreMarks) May 21, 2014
Try using homonymy!
Which of the following word pairs could be considered to exhibit homonymy?
A. air and heir
B. bare and bear
C. bear and bear
D. all of the above