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See also: Homograph



From homo- +‎ -graph.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈhɒməɡɹɑːf/, /ˈhəʊməɡɹæf/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈhɑːməɡɹæf/, /ˈhoʊməɡɹæf/
  • (file)
  • (file)


  • bear (mammal) and bear (to support)

homograph (plural homographs)

  1. A word that is spelled the same as another word, usually having a different etymology.
  2. (computing) A text character or string that looks identical to another when rendered.
    Hyponym: homoglyph

Usage notes[edit]

Homographs are a kind of homonym in the loose sense of that term, i.e. a word that is either a homophone (same sound) or a homograph (same spelling). (The strict sense of homonym is a word that both sounds and is spelled the same as another word.) Specifically, homographs must have the same spelling, though they usually have different meanings and may be pronounced differently.

  • The verb bear (to carry) and the noun bear (large omnivorous mammal) are homographs with the same pronunciation and different etymological origins.
  • The verb alternate (to go back and forth) and the adjective alternate (following by turns) are homographs with different pronunciations but close etymological origins. Such homographs are also heteronyms.
  • The verb meet (to encounter) and the noun meat (food) are not homographs since they have different spellings.

Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]

Euler diagram of choice semantic relations.
Nyms (with category [cat] if any)
Noun (cat) Sound Spelling Meaning phone/graph
homonym same same different homophone & homograph
heteronym (cat) different same different heterophone & homograph
homophone same different different homophone (cat) & heterograph
alternative pronunciation different same same heterophone & homograph
synonym different different same heterophone & heterograph
alternative spelling same different same homophone & heterograph
identical same same same homophone & homograph
distinct different different different heterophone & heterograph

Further reading[edit]