homograph

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See also: Homograph

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From homo-, from Ancient Greek ὁμός (homos, same) + -graph, from Ancient Greek γράφος (graphos, that which is written).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

homograph (plural homographs)

  1. A word that is spelled the same as another word, usually having a different etymology, such as "bear", the animal, and "bear", to support, to tolerate, etc.

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]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

An Euler diagram showing the relationship between these -nyms.
Different Meanings
Nym Sound Spelling Category
homonym same same
heteronym different same (cat)
homograph not specified same
homophone same different (cat)
heterophone different different
synonym different different