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]

Note:
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/ invalid IPA characters (,))
crooks/crux (/krʊks, krʌks/ invalid IPA characters (,))
look/luck (/lʊk, lʌk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
puss/pus (/pʊs, pʌs/ invalid IPA characters (,))
put/putt (/pʊt, pʌt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
took/tuck (/tʊk, tʌk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
shook/shuck (/ʃʊk, ʃʌk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
could/cud (/kʊd, kʌd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
booger/bugger (/bʊg.ər, bʌg.ər/ invalid IPA characters (g,g))
boogie/buggy (/bʊg.i, bʌg.i/ invalid IPA characters (g,g))

Trap-bath split[edit]

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

Bad-lad split[edit]

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

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/ invalid IPA characters (,))
have/halve (/hæv, heəv/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Manning/manning (/mæn.ɪŋ, meən.ɪŋ/ invalid IPA characters (,))

Cot-caught and father-bother mergers[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the cot-caught merger.
odd/awed (/ɒd, ɔːd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
sod/sawed (/sɒd, sɔːd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
sot/sought (/sɒt, sɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
cod/cawed (/kɒd, kɔːd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
nod/gnawed (/nɒd, nɔːd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
pod/pawed (/pɒd, pɔːd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
clod/clawed/Claud (/klɒd, klɔːd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
body/bawdy (/bɒd.i, bɔːd.i/ invalid IPA characters (,))
chock/chalk (/tʃɒk, tʃɔːk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
cock/calk/caulk (/kɒk, kɔːk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wok/walk (/wɒk, wɔːk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
box/balks (/bɒks, bɔːks/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ox/auks (/ɒks, ɔːks/ invalid IPA characters (,))
collar/caller (/kɒl.ər, kɔːl.ər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
hock/hawk (/hɒk, hɔːk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
stock/stalk (/stɒk, stɔːk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
pol/pall/Paul (/pɒl, pɔːl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
on/awn (/ɒn, ɔːn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
don/dawn (/dɒn, dɔːn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
yon/yawn (/jɒn, jɔːn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
John/jawn (/dʒɒn, dʒɔːn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
fond/fawned (/fɒnd, fɔːnd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
pond/pawned (/pɒnd, pɔːnd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
cot/caught (/kɒt, kɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
sot/sought (/sɒt, sɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
bot/bought (/bɒt, bɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
knot/not/naught/nought (/nɒt, nɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
rot/wrought (/rɒt, rɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
tot/taught/taut (/tɒt, tɔːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
dotter/daughter (/dɒt.ər, dɔː.tər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
popper/pauper (/pɒp.ər, pɔː.pər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
bobble/bauble (/bɒb.əl, bɔː.bəl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
offal/awful (/ɒf.əl, ɔː.fəl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the father-bother merger.
balm/bomb (/bɑːm, bɒm/ invalid IPA characters (,))
palm/Pom (/pɑːm, pɒm/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Khan/con (/kɑːn, kɒn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
sari/sorry (/sɑːri, sɒri/ invalid IPA characters (,)) (except in some Eastern American and Canadian accents)
Mali/Molly (/mɑːli, mɒli/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the both the cot-caught and the father-bother mergers.
awe/ah (/ɔː, ɑː/ invalid IPA characters (,))
haw/ha (/hɔː, hɑː/ invalid IPA characters (,))
paw/pa (/pɔː, pɑː/ invalid IPA characters (,))
balk/Bach (/bɔːk, bɑːx/ invalid IPA characters (,))
raw/Ra (/rɔː, rɑː/ invalid IPA characters (,))
maw/ma (/mɔː, mɑː/ invalid IPA characters (,))

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/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'mɛr.i/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'mær.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
hairy/harry/Harry (/'hɛə.ri/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'hær.i/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'hær.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
hairier/Harrier (/'hɛə.ri.ər/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'hær.i.ər/ invalid IPA characters ('))
fairy/faery/ferry (/'fɛə.ri/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'fɛr.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
berry/bury/Barry (/'bɛr.i/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'bær.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
vary/very (/'vɛə.ri/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'vɛr.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
airer/error (/'ɛə.rər/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'ɛr.ər/ invalid IPA characters ('))
tearer/terror (/'tɛə.rər/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'tɛr.ər/ invalid IPA characters ('))
parish/perish (/'pær.ɪʃ/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'pɛr.ɪʃ/ invalid IPA characters ('))
Erin/Aaron (/'ɛr.ɪn/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'ær.ən/ invalid IPA characters ('))
parry/perry (/'pær.i/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'pɛr.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
tarry/terry (/'tær.i/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'tɛr.i/ invalid IPA characters ('))
Farrell/feral (/'fær.əl/ invalid IPA characters ('), /'fɛr.əl/ invalid IPA characters ('))

Mirror-nearer merger[edit]

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

Horse-hoarse merger[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with the horse-hoarse merger.
for/fore/four/4 (/fɔːr, fɔər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
forward/foreword (/'fɔːr.wərd, 'fɔər.wərd/ invalid IPA characters (','))
or/oar/ore/o'er (/ɔːr, ɔər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
war/wore (/wɔːr, wɔər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
sword/soared (/sɔːrd, sɔərd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
chord/cord/cored (/kɔːrd, kɔərd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
border/boarder (/'bɔːrd.ər, 'bɔərd.ər/ invalid IPA characters (','))
horse/hoarse (/hɔːrs, hɔərs/ invalid IPA characters (,))
forth/fourth (/fɔːrθ, fɔərθ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
warn/worn (/wɔːrn, wɔərn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
born/borne (/bɔːrn, bɔərn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
morn/mourn (/mɔːrn, mɔərn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
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/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wale/wail/whale (/weɪl, ʍeɪl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Wales/wails/whales (/weɪlz, ʍeɪlz/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wear/ware/weir/where (/wɛər, ɛər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
weal/we'll/wheal/wheel (/wiːl, ʍiːl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
weald/wield/wheeled (/wiːld, ʍiːld/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wye/Y/why (/waɪ, ʍaɪ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wide/why'd (/waɪd, ʍaɪd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wile/while (/waɪl, ʍaɪl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wild/wiled/whiled (/waɪld, ʍaɪld/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wind/wined/wynd/whined (/waɪnd, ʍaɪnd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wire/why're (/waɪər, waɪr, ʍaɪ.ər/ invalid IPA characters (,,))
wise/Y's/whys/why's (/waɪz, ʍaɪz/ invalid IPA characters (,))
woe/whoa (/wəʊ, ʍəʊ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
weather/wether/whether (/wɛ.ðər, ʍɛ.ðər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
wet/whet (/wɛt, ʍɛt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
word/whirred (/wɜːrd, ʍɜːrd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
world/whirled/whorled (/wɜːrld, ʍɜːrld/ invalid IPA characters (,))
witch/which (/wɪtʃ, ʍɪtʃ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
whit/wit (/wɪt, ʍɪt/ invalid IPA characters (,))

H-dropping[edit]

Note:
The following are homophones in dialects with h-dropping
arm/harm (/ɑːrm, hɑːrm/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ardor/harder (/'ɑːrdər, 'hɑːrdər/ invalid IPA characters (','))
arc/ark/hark (/ɑːrk, hɑːrk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
art/heart (/ɑːrt, hɑːrt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
eat/heat (/iːt, hiːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
at/hat (/æt, hæt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ash/hash (/æʃ, hæʃ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
am/ham (/æm, hæm/ invalid IPA characters (,))
aft/haft (/æft, hæft/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ad/had (/æd, hæd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
axe/hacks (/æk, hæk/ invalid IPA characters (,))
and/hand (/ænd, hænd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
old/hold (/əʊld, həʊld/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ohm/home (/əʊm, həʊm/ invalid IPA characters (,))
own/hone (/əʊn, həʊn/ invalid IPA characters (,))
owe/oh/ho/hoe (/əʊ, həʊ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ow/how (/aʊ, haʊ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ooze/who's/whose (/uːz, huːz/ invalid IPA characters (,))
oaks/hoax (/əʊks, həʊks/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ate/eight/hate (/eɪt, heɪt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ale/ail/hale/hail (/eɪl, heɪl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ear/hear/here (/ɪər, hɪər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
it/hit (/ɪt, hɪt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
is/his (/ɪz, hɪz/ invalid IPA characters (,))
itch/hitch (/ɪtʃ, hɪtʃ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
id/hid (/ɪd, hɪd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
I/eye/hi/high (/aɪ, haɪ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Ike/hike (/aɪk, haɪk/ invalid IPA characters (,)
I've/hive (/aɪv, haɪv/ invalid IPA characters (,))
Ides/hides (/aɪdz, haɪdz/ invalid IPA characters (,))
eyed/hide (/aɪd, haɪd/ invalid IPA characters (,))
heir/air/hair/hare (/ɛər, hɛər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
otter/hotter (/ɒt.ər, hɒt.ər/ invalid IPA characters (,))
edge/hedge (/ɛdʒ, hɛdʒ/ invalid IPA characters (,))
elm/helm (/ɛlm, hɛlm/ invalid IPA characters (,))
all/awl/haul/hall (/ɔːl, hɔːl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
eel/heel/heal (/iːl, hiːl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
eat/heat (/iːt, hiːt/ invalid IPA characters (,))
eve/heave (/iːv, hiːv/ invalid IPA characters (,))
earl/hurl (/ɜːrl, hɜːrl/ invalid IPA characters (,))
awe/haw (/ɔː, hɔː/ invalid IPA characters (,))
ore/oar/or/hoar/whore (/ɔːr, hɔːr/ invalid IPA characters (,))
auk/hawk (/ɔːk, hɔːk/ invalid IPA characters (,))

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/ invalid IPA characters (g))
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
for/four/Thor
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
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/ invalid IPA characters (,))
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/ invalid IPA characters ('/,/))
hoar/whore/haw
larva/lava (/'lɑːr.və, 'lɑː.və/ invalid IPA characters (','))
lore/law
manner/manna
miner/minor/mynah
more/maw
oar/or/ore/o'er/awe (/ɔːr, ɔər, ɔː/ invalid IPA characters (,,))
pattern/paten/patten
porn/pawn
pores/pours/pause/paws (/pɔːrz, pɔərz, pɔːz/ invalid IPA characters (,,))
pore/pour/paw (/pɔːr, pɔər, pɔː/ invalid IPA characters (,,))
roar/raw
rort/wrought
rotor/rota
soar/sore/saw (/sɔːr, sɔər, sɔː/ invalid IPA characters (,,))
sort/sought
source/sauce
spar/spa
stork/stalk
torque/talk
tort/taught/taut
yore/your/yaw