Homonyms, Homophones and Homographs

Differences with examples

Homonymn, homophones and homographs have a common prefix that is ‘homo’ which means the same. Rest of the difference can be taken out by their names separately. Let’s know about the difference among these three with various examples.

Homonyms

The word “Homonym” comes from the prefix “Homo” which means the same, and the suffix “-nym” which means name. 
Homonym is a word that is spelt and pronounced like another word but that has a different meaning.

Examples

Lie (verb) to be in or assume a horizontal or resting position on a supporting surface.
Eggs lie in the basket.
Lie (noun) something which is not true
Don’t tell a lie.

Bark: the sharp explosive cry of a dog
Bark: the hard outer covering of a tree

Band: a group of musicians
Band: a wrist band

Bat: a piece of wood used to hit the ball
Bat: an animal

Well: in a good way, to a high or satisfactorystandard:

He spoke very well today.

Well:
a deep hole in the ground from which water, oil, or gas can be obtained:
an oil well
Left ( noun) I eat by my left hand.
Left (verb) He left his office early today.

Homophones

‘Homo’ means same and ‘phone’ is related to sound. So it’s very clear that homophones have the same sound. They are pronounced the same as another word but have a different spelling and meaning.
I’ll share various examples for homophones.

Examples

heal heel,
hear here,
hole, whole
in, inn,
knight night,
knot not,
know no,
made maid,
mail male,
meat meet,
none nun,
one won,
peace piece,
plain plane,
principal principle,
right write,
root route,
sail sale,
sea see,
sight site,
sole, soul,
some sum,
son sun,
stair stare,
stationary stationery,
steal steel,
tail tale,
their there,
too two,
waist waste,
wait weight,
way weigh,
weak week,

All these words have the same sound while pronounced but they all have different meanings.

Homographs

‘Homo’ means the same and ‘graph’ denotes something written or drawn. Therefore, it’s very clear that a homograph is a word that shares the same written form as another word but has a different meaning. However, some dictionaries insist that the words must also sound different.

Heteronyms are a type of homograph that are also spelled the same and have different meanings, but sound different.

Homographs fall under the same umbrella of homonyms. They are words that have same spelling but can be used in different meanings and/or pronunciations. 

Examples

1.Bow – type of knot

He tied a beautiful bow.

Bow – to incline

He bowed to the Queen.
Bow down your head to pray.

2. Bear – To endure ; Bear – Animal.
They could not bear his torture.
Children like teddy bear.

3. Content – happy or satisfied/all that is contained inside something
I am contented with my efforts.
Your website has good content.
4.Minute: tiny OR unit of time
He explained about all minute points.
He finished his speech in a minute.
5. Lead – Metal ; Lead – Start off in front.
There can be lead in water.
Who will lead our team?

6. Live-place of residence
I live in Mumbai.
Live– going on
I watched my favourite show live.

7. Learned – past tense of learn OR knowledgeable

I learned my lesson.

Mr. John is a learned person.

8. Wind – to turn/
He tried to wind the handle but nothing happened.
Wind – moving air
There was a light wind blowing.

These are just few examples to make you understand about homographs but there are many more examples which you can find out and practise.

To conclude in a better manner and for your better uderstanding, I’ll share about Homonyms, Homophones and Homographs and their differences with a table.

WordsSpellingPronunciationMeaning
HomonymsSameSameDifferent
HomophonesDifferentSameDifferent
HomographsSameDifferentDifferent

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