Appendix:English dialect-dependent homophones

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Homophones are words that have the same sound but different meanings (and may or may not have different spellings). This list consists exclusively of homophones that have a different spelling.

Many pairs of English words which have either gained or lost their homophony through phonemic splits and mergers. Where the split or merger is not complete throughout the language this can lead to a situation where a pair of words are homophones in one dialect but not so in another.

This is a list of sets of words which are homophonous in some dialects of English but not others. For other sets of homophones see the list of dialect-independent homophones.

General vowel splits and mergers[edit]

Foot-strut split[edit]

The following may be homophones in dialects without the foot-strut split. In the northern half of England and some eastern areas of Ireland, these pairs have the /ʊ/ vowel and there is no /ʌ/ phoneme. (However, many of the -ook words have the GOOSE vowel in northern England and parts of Ireland, and so remain distinct).
book/buck (/bʊk, bʌk/)
crooks/crux (/krʊks, krʌks/)
look/luck (/lʊk, lʌk/)
puss/pus (/pʊs, pʌs/)
put/putt (/pʊt, pʌt/)
took/tuck (/tʊk, tʌk/)
shook/shuck (/ʃʊk, ʃʌk/)
could/cud (/kʊd, kʌd/)
booger/bugger (/bʊg.ər, bʌg.ər/)
boogie/buggy (/bʊg.i, bʌg.i/)

Trap-bath split[edit]

Note:
The following may be homophones in dialects without the trap-bath split.
ant/aunt (/ænt, ɑːnt/)
ass (donkey) / ass (buttocks) (/æs, ɑːs/)
cant/can't (/kænt, kɑːnt/)
have/halve (/hæv, hɑːv/)
massed/mast (/mæst, mɑːst/)

Bad-lad split[edit]

Note:
The following are not homophones in dialects with the bad–lad split.
an/Ann (/æn, æːn/)
can (be able to)/can (container) (/kæn, kæːn/)
span (spin)/span (space) (/spæn, spæːn/)
ran/Wran (/ræn, ræːn/)
Manning/manning (/mæn.ɪŋ, mæːn.ɪŋ/)
bade/bad (/bæd, bæːd/)
sadist/saddest (/sæd.ɪst, sæːd.ɪst/)
band/banned (/bænd, bæːnd/)

Phonemic æ-tensing[edit]

Note:
The following are not homophones in dialects with the phonemic æ-tensing.
can (be able to)/can (container) (/kæn, keən/)
have/halve (/hæv, heəv/)
Manning/manning (/mæn.ɪŋ, meən.ɪŋ/)

Cot-caught and father-bother mergers[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the cot-caught merger.
odd/awed (/ɒd, ɔːd/)
sod/sawed (/sɒd, sɔːd/)
sot/sought (/sɒt, sɔːt/)
cod/cawed (/kɒd, kɔːd/)
chock/chalk (/tʃɒk, tʃɔːk/)
cock/calk/caulk (/kɒk, kɔːk/)
collar/caller (/kɒl.ər, kɔːl.ər/)
hock/hawk (/hɒk, hɔːk/)
stock/stalk (/stɒk, stɔːk/)
pol/pall/Paul (/pɒl, pɔːl/)
on/awn (/ɒn, ɔːn/)
fond/fawned (/fɒnd, fɔːnd/)
cot/caught (/kɒt, kɔːt/)
knot/not/naught/nought (/nɒt, nɔːt/)
rot/wrought (/rɒt, rɔːt/)
tot/taught/taut (/tɒt, tɔːt/)
dotter/daughter (/dɒt.ər, dɔː.tər/)
bobble/bauble (/bɒb.əl, bɔː.bəl/)
Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the father-bother merger.
balm/bomb (/bɑːm, bɒm/)
palm/Pom (/pɑːm, pɒm/)
Khan/con (/kɑːn, kɒn/)
sari/sorry (/sɑːri, sɒri/) (except in some Eastern American and Canadian accents)
Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the both the cot-caught and the father-bother mergers.
paw/pa (/pɔː, pɑː/)
balk/Bach (/bɔːk, bɑːx/)
raw/Ra (/rɔː, rɑː/)
maw/ma (/mɔː, mɑː/)

Mergers before historic r[edit]

Mary-merry-marry merger[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the mary-merry-marry merger.
Mary/merry/marry (/'mɛə.ri/, /'mɛr.i/, /'mær.i/)
hairy/harry/Harry (/'hɛə.ri/, /'hær.i/, /'hær.i/)
fairy/faery/ferry (/'fɛə.ri/, /'fɛr.i/)
berry/bury/Barry (/'bɛr.i/, /'bær.i/)
vary/very (/'vɛə.ri/, /'vɛr.i/)
airer/error (/'ɛə.rər/, /'ɛr.ər/)
tearer/terror (/'tɛə.rər/, /'tɛr.ər/)
parish/perish (/'pær.ɪʃ/, /'pɛr.ɪʃ/)
Erin/Aaron (/'ɛr.ɪn/, /'ær.ən/)
parry/perry (/'pær.i/, /'pɛr.i/)
tarry/terry (/'tær.i/, /'tɛr.i/)
Farrell/feral (/'fær.əl/, /'fɛr.əl/)

Mirror-nearer merger[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the mirror-nearer merger.
serious/Sirius (/'sɪə.riˌəs/, /'sɪ.riˌəs/)

Horse-hoarse merger[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the horse-hoarse merger.
Sound: (/ɔːr, ɔər/)
for/fore/four/4 (/'fɔːr, 'fɔər/)
forward/foreword (/'fɔːr.wərd, 'fɔər.wərd/)
oar/or/ore/o'er (/'ɔːr, 'ɔər/)
war/wore (/'wɔːr, 'wɔər/)
Sound: (/ɔːrd, ɔərd/)
sword/soared (/'sɔːrd, 'sɔərd/)
chord/cord/cored (/'kɔːrd, 'kɔərd/)
Sound: (/ɔːrs, ɔərs/)
horse/hoarse (/'hɔːrs, 'hɔərs/)
Sound: (/ɔːrθ, ɔərθ/)
forth/fourth (/'fɔːrθ, 'fɔərθ/)
Sound: (/ɔːrn, ɔərn/)
born/borne (/'bɔːrn, 'bɔərn/)
morn/mourn (/'mɔːrn, 'mɔərn/)
See also:
Non-rhotic homophones

Wine-whine merger[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the wine-whine merger.
way/weigh/whey (/weɪ, ʍeɪ/)
wale/wail/whale (/weɪl, ʍeɪl/)
Wales/wails/whales (/weɪlz, ʍeɪlz/)
wear/ware/weir/where (/wɛər, ɛər/)
weal/we'll/wheal/wheel (/wiːl, ʍiːl/)
weald/wield/wheeled (/wiːld, ʍiːld/)
wye/Y/why (/waɪ, ʍaɪ/)
wide/why'd (/waɪd, ʍaɪd/)
wile/while (/waɪl, ʍaɪl/)
wild/wiled/whiled (/waɪld, ʍaɪld/)
wind/wined/wynd/whined (/waɪnd, ʍaɪnd/)
wire/why're (/waɪər, waɪr, ʍaɪ.ər/)
wise/Y's/whys/why's (/waɪz, ʍaɪz/)
woe/whoa (/wəʊ, ʍəʊ/)
weather/wether/whether (/wɛ.ðər, ʍɛ.ðər/)
wet/whet (/wɛt, ʍɛt/)
word/whirred (/wɜːrd, ʍɜːrd/)
world/whirled/whorled (/wɜːrld, ʍɜːrld/)
witch/which (/wɪtʃ, ʍɪtʃ/)
whit/wit (/wɪt, ʍɪt/)

H-dropping[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with h-dropping
arm/harm (/ɑːrm, hɑːrm/)
art/heart (/ɑːrt, hɑːrt/)
eat/heat (/iːt, hiːt/)
at/hat (/æt, hæt/)
air/hair (/ɛər, hɛər/)
and/hand (/ænd, hænd/)
old/hold (/əʊld, həʊld/)
oaks/hoax (/əʊks, həʊks/)
ate/eight/hate (/eɪt, heɪt/)

Yod-dropping and coalescence[edit]

Yod-coalescence
dew/due/Jew (/ˈdʒuː/)
dual/duel/jewel (/dʒuː.əl/)
dune/June (/ˈdʒuːn/)
deuce/juice (/ˈdʒuːs/)
duke/juke (/ˈdʒuːk/)
Yod-dropping
The following are homophones in most dialects of English.
threw/(through/thru) (/ˈθruː/)
brood/brewed (/ˈbruːd/)
rood/rude/rued (/ˈruːd/)
droop/drupe (/ˈdruːp/)
lieu/loo/Lou (/ˈluː/)
lune/loon (/ˈluːn/)
lute/loot (/ˈluːt/)
flew/flue/flu (/ˈfluː/)
slue/slew/slough (/sluː/)
gloom/glume (/ˈgluːm/)
choose/chews (/ˈtʃuːz/)
chute/shoot (/ˈʃuːt/)
The following are homophones in General American English.
dew/due/do (/ˈduː/)
undue/undo (/ʌn.ˈdu/)
tune/toon (/ˈtuːn/)
knew/gnu/new/[nu] (/ˈnuː/)
The following are homophones in some East Anglian accents.
pure/poor (/ˈpʊə/)
beauty/booty (/ˈbuː.ti/)
mute/moot (/ˈmuːt/)
cute/coot (/ˈkuːt/)

Th[edit]

Th-fronting[edit]

The following words are homophonous when th-fronted. Words marked with an asterisk (*) are homophonous only in a non-rhotic accent.

Note: The word(s) containing the /f/ or /v/ is mentioned first, with the word(s) containing the /θ/ or /ð/ following.
Aoife/ether*
barf*/bath
beef/Beith
breve/breathe
café/Cathay
caff/Cath
clove/clothe
deaf/death
F/eth
faugh/for*/four*/thaw
faun/fawn/thorn*
feign/fain/thane
feoff/fief/thief
fervor/further
few/thew
fie/thigh
fill/thill
fin/Finn/thin
firm/therm
first/thirst
foal/thole
ford*/thawed
fort*/fought/thought
Fred/thread
free/three
fresh/thresh
fresher/thresher
fret/threat
frill/thrill
fro/throw
froze/throes
fug/thug
fuse/thews
half/hearth*
infuse/enthuse
laugh/lath
lava/lather*
lave/lathe
leafy/Lethe
live/lithe
loaf/loath
never/nether
oaf/oath
rave/rathe
reef/wreath
reive/wreathe
rive/writhe
roof/Ruth
sheaf/sheath
sliver/slither
V/thee
vat/that
vie/thy
vine/thine
vow/thou
whiff/withe

Th-alveolarization[edit]

The following words are homophonous when th-alveolarized (/θ/ becomes /s/, and /ð/ becomes /z/). Words marked with an asterisk (*) are homophonous only in a non-rhotic accent.

Note: The word(s) containing the /s/ or /z/ is listed first, with the word(s) containing the /θ/ or /ð/ following.
bays/bathe
breeze/breathe
cymbal/symbol/thimble
face/faith
force/fourth
gross/growth
kiss/kith
lays/laze/lathe
mass/math/maths
mouse/mouth
moss/moth
miss/myth
Norse/north
pass/path
piss/pith
sank/thank
saw/soar*/sore*/thaw
sawed/sword*/thawed
sawn/thorn*
saws/soars*/sores*/thaws
seem/theme
seems/themes
seize/seethe
sick/thick
sigh/thigh
sighs/size/thighs
sin/thin
sing/thing
sings/things
sink/think
sinking/thinking
sinks/thinks
sinning/thinning
sins/thins
soared*/thawed
soaring*/thawing
soars*/sores*/thaws
song/thong
songs/thongs
sort*/sought/thought
sorts*/thoughts
sues/soothe
sum/thumb
sump/thump
tense/tenth
whizz/with
worse/worth
zees/these
zen/then

Th-debuccalisation[edit]

Note:
For Scottish English speakers with th-debuccalisation, the following pairs are homophonous.
Haines/thanes
hank/thank
hatch/thatch
hatches/thatches
haw/thaw
heard/third
herd/third
hi/hie/high/thigh
hick/thick
hin/thin
hod/thawed
hug/thug
Hurst/thirst

Th-stopping[edit]

In some Caribbean and Irish accents that merge /θ, ð/ with /t, d/ the following words are homophonous.

Bart/bath
bayed/bathe
Bert/birth
boat/both
boot/booth
breed/breathe
Dan/than
dare/their/there/they're
dare/there
day/they
den/then
dhow/thou
dine/thine
dirt/dearth
diss/this
frot/froth
got/goth
heart/hearth
mats/maths
met/meth
mitt/myth
mudder/mother
nutting/nothing
part/path
read/reed/wreathe
ride/wrythe
tank/thank
taught/thought
tent/tenth
tin/thin
tinker/thinker
toot/tooth
trash/thrash
tree/three
true/threw/through
turd/third
udder/other

Non-rhotic homophones[edit]

arms/alms
airier/area
aren't/aunt (/ɑːrnt, ɑːnt/)
bittern/bitten
court/caught
core/corps/caw
drawers/draws
far/fah
farther/father
floor/flaw
fort/fought
formerly/formally ('fɔːr.mər.li/, fɔːr.mə.li/)
hoar/whore/haw
larva/lava (/'lɑːr.və, 'lɑː.və/)
lore/law
manner/manna
miner/minor/mynah
more/maw
oar/or/ore/o'er/awe (/ɔːr, ɔər, ɔː/)
pattern/paten/patten
porn/pawn
pores/pours/pause/paws (/pɔːrz, pɔərz, pɔːz/)
pore/pour/paw (/pɔːr, pɔər, pɔː/)
roar/raw
rort/wrought
rotor/rota
soar/sore/saw (/sɔːr, sɔər, sɔː/)
sort/sought
source/sauce
spar/spa
stork/stalk
torque/talk
tort/taught/taut
yore/your/yaw