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A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning.

The words may be spelled the same, such as rose (flower) and rose (past tense of "rise"), or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms.The term "homophone" may also apply to units longer or shorter than words, such as phrases, letters or groups of letters that are pronounced the same as another phrase, letter or group of letters.

In word play and games


Homophones are often used to create puns and to deceive the reader (as in crossword puzzles) or to suggest multiple meanings. The last usage is common in poetry and creative literature. An example of this is seen in Dylan Thomas's radio play Under Milk Wood: "The shops in mourning" where mourning can be heard as mourning or morning. Another vivid example is Thomas Hood's use of 'birth' & 'berth' and "told' & 'toll'd' (tolled) in his poem "Faithless Sally Brown": His death, which happen'd in his berth, At forty-odd befell: They went and told the sexton, and The sexton toll'd the bell.

In some accents, various sounds have merged in that they are no longer distinctive, and thus words that differ only by those sounds in an accent that maintains the distinction (a minimal pair) are homophonous in the accent with the merger. Some examples from English are: pin and pen in many southern American accents. merry, marry, and Mary in many western American accents. The pairs do, due and forward, foreword are homophonous in most American accents but not in most British accents. The pairs talk, torque, and court, caught are distinguished in rhotic accents such as Scottish English and most dialects of American English, but are homophones in many non-rhotic accents such as British Received Pronunciation.

Homophones of multiple words or phrases (as sometimes seen in word games) are also known as "oronyms". This term was coined by Gyles Brandreth and first published in his book The Joy of Lex (1980), and it was used in the BBC programme Never Mind the Full Stops, which also featured Brandreth as a guest. Examples of "oronyms" (which may only be true homophones in certain dialects of English) include "ice cream" vs. "I scream" "euthanasia" vs. "youth in Asia" "depend" vs. "deep end "the sky" vs. "this guy "four candles" vs. "fork handles "sand which is there" vs. "sandwiches there "example" vs. "egg sample "some others" vs. "some mothers" "night rain" vs. "night train" "kinda lingers" vs. "cunnilingus"

List of Homophones
altar, alter arc, ark aren't, aunt ate, eight auger, augur auk, orc aural, oral away, aweigh awe, oar, or, ore axel, axle aye, eye, I bail, bale bait, bate baize, bays bald, bawled ball, bawl band, banned bard, barred bare, bear bark, barque baron, barren base, bass bay, bey bazaar, bizarre be, bee beach, beech