What Are Homonyms? (with Examples)

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What Are Homonyms? (with Examples)

A homonym is a word that is pronounced the same as another word with a different meaning.

When the words have the same spelling, they are known as homographs. When they have different spellings, they are called homophones.

Examples of Homonyms

Here are some examples of homonyms:
  • bear and bare
  • site, sight, and cite
  • pike and pike
  • (the fish and the weapon)
  • This is a good place to catch plaice.
  • Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. (Groucho Marx)
  • (flies = the verb to fly and the noun denoting small insects)
    (like = conjunction meaning as though and the verb to like)

Types of Homonym: Homographs and Homophones

There are two types of homonyms:

These are words with the same spelling but different meanings:
  • lead (the metal) and lead (which attaches to a dog's collar)
  • pike (the fish) and pike (the weapon)
  • "I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence? (George Carlin)
Homophones. These are words with the same sound but with different spellings and meanings:
  • place (location) and plaice (the fish)
  • bear (the animal) and bare (meaning naked)