[ huh-mof-uh-nuhs, hoh- ]
/ həˈmɒf ə nəs, hoʊ- /
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identical in pronunciation.
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Origin of homophonous

1745–55; <Greek homóphōnos of the same sound; see homo-, phon-, -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does homophonous mean?

Homophonous is used to describe words that are pronounced exactly the same.

If two words are described as homophonous, it means they are homophones—words that sound the same but have different meanings, whether they’re spelled the same or not. There, their, and they’re are homophonous. So are bark (the sound a dog makes) and bark (the covering of a tree).

As long as two (or more) words have the same pronunciation, they are homophonous.

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

Where does homophonous come from?

The first records of the word homophonous come from around 1750. It is a combination of homo, meaning “same,” -phone, meaning “sound,” and -ous, which is used to form adjectives.

Similarly, two words that are synonyms can be described as synonymous. The word homonymous can describe words that are homonyms—words that have different meanings but are pronounced the same or spelled the same or both. 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.

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). This means the two senses of bark could be considered homophones, homographs, or homonyms, and could be described as homophonous, homographic, or homonymous.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to homophonous?

What are some synonyms for homophonous?

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

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

How is homophonous used in real life?

It is much more common to say two words are homophones than to describe them as homophonous.



Try using homophonous!

Which of the following word pairs are homophonous?

  1. creek and creak
  2. toe and tow
  3. threw and through
  4. all of the above

How to use homophonous in a sentence

  • Zoom tended to dominate remote learning and work over the past 18 months, but for many schools in California, the homophonous “Zum” seems set to be the driving force for the post-pandemic school year.

    Back to School, Ready or Not|Eromo Egbejule|August 27, 2021|Ozy
  • Homophonous: words differently written but indistinguishable in sound, applied to different conceptions.

British Dictionary definitions for homophonous

/ (hɒˈmɒfənəs) /

of, relating to, or denoting a homophone
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012