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See also: Homonym



From homo- +‎ -onym.



homonym (plural homonyms)

  1. (semantics, strict sense) A word that both sounds and is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning.
  2. (loosely) A word that sounds or is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning, technically called a homophone (same sound) or a homograph (same spelling).
  3. (taxonomy) A name for a taxon that is identical in spelling to another name that belongs to a different taxon.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Homonyms (in the looser sense) are divided into the two overlapping subcategories homographs and homophones. Examples:
    • die and dye (homophones but not homographs)
    • the parasitic flatworm called a fluke and fluke, part of the tail of a whale (both homophones and homographs and therefore true homonyms in the strict sense)
    • the metal lead and the present tense of the verb lead (homographs but not homophones)

Related terms[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

Meaning Spelling Pronunciation

Homo+graph different same different

Homo+nym same different different

Homo+Phone different different same


Hetero+graph same different same

Hetero+nym different same same

Hetero+phone same different different



homonym n, c

  1. homonym


Declension of homonym 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative homonym homonymen homonymer homonymerna
Genitive homonyms homonymens homonymers homonymernas