What is the Meaning of Homonyms?



Homonyms are defined as a word that has the same spelling and even the exact pronunciation of another set of words but has two distinctly different meanings. The origin of the syntax of the phrase also differs, while the spelling remains the same. The state of being a homonym is called homonymy.

The term ‘Homonyms’ is a prefix ‘homo’ which refers to ‘the same’ and the suffix ‘-nym’ which refers to ‘the name’. Hence, the term Homonyms are referred to as the words that sound alike but possess entirely different meanings. Homonyms either sound the same or are spelled the same; however, the only difference is in their definitions.

The most common example of homonyms could be the word “pen” as this word can be used as describing “a holding area for animals” as well as for describing as a “writing instrument”. One more such example could be “book” as we can use this word for expressing our wish to “get something to read” plus also can be used when we are talking about “making a reservation for the train”.


Homonyms Examples

Here are ten examples of Homonyms with sentences to showcase the confusion of understanding the concept. 

  1. Blue: Rita’s favorite color is blue.

Blew: Samuel picked a tissue and blew his nose.

  1. Idol: Adam Levine is the idol of all the young singers in the industry.

Idle: Ariana was sitting idle but did not complete the homework piled up.

  1. Flies: Time flies like an arrow – Here, the word ‘flies’ is a verb and implies the act of passing away. 

Flies: Fruit flies like bananas – Here, the word flies is a noun, as in a fly, an insect.

  1. Flair: She had a flair for singing.

Flare: A flare of spark went through her hand when she met with an accident.

  1. Holy: Kashi is a well-known holy place as well as a tourist attraction spot. 

Wholly: The claims from the insurance are whole without the interest.

  1. Die: Doctors said that Tim would die as she is suffering from a bBrain tTumour.

Dye: Ameilia dyed her hair purple.

  1. Fined: Aaron was fined ten thousand rupees for being drunk and driving.

Find:- Vincent could not find Sam at the concert.

  1. Gait: The group saw the gait (the walking style) of a Lion in the zoo.

Gate: The guard opened the gate and let the students outside the school.

  1. Censor: The film got approval from the censor board.

Sensor: There are sensor water taps and sanitizer disposal in the office building, and there is no need to touch them.

  1. Baron: Lionel’s mother is a press baron (here the word means an important person).

Barren: The Liverpool hall was once a barren building.

Homographs and Homophones

There are two standard subdivisions of homonyms – Homographs and Homophones.  


The term homograph is an amalgamation of two Greek words – ‘homos’, which refers to “same,” and the word ‘graph’, which means, “to write.” Thus, hHomograph is defined as words that are written identically with the same spelling but don’t share the same meaning. Here, the pronunciations may also differ at times. Homographs are words that are often confusing to grasp at first, but once you hear them spoken aloud or read them in the context of a sentence, you will quickly figure out which word is intended.

Some examples of homographs are as follows:- The word “lead” is common. The term is applicable in two ways – the first word means to guide or pilot someone or something. The second meaning of lead is in a noun form, as in the metal. The word ‘to shut’ means to close, and another applied purpose is close. The term ‘bass’ means deep, and also means fish.


The term homophone is an amalgamation of two Greek words – ‘homos’, which refers to “same,” and the word phone, which means, “sound.” Thus, a homophone is defined as the words that have the same pronunciation or sound but hold distinctly different meanings. However, the terms are either of the exact spelling or different. 

Some examples of Homophones are as follows:- the word Dessert and Desert. Dessert is a standard reference to the sweets that are consumed at the end of the meal while the term – Dessert, refers to a barren land or abandoning something.

The words two, to, and too are another example of homophones – they hold the same pronunciation but have different meanings and spellings. Another example of a homophone is Altar and Alter that keep the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings.



FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. State Homonyms Definition and Examples.


Homonyms refer to three distinct classes of words. Homonyms may be words that hold spellings that are either same or alike but are different in terms of pronunciation and meaning — for example, the bow of a ship and bow that shoots arrows.


Homonyms may be words that have two identical pronunciations but possess different meanings and spellings. For example- to, too, and two.


Finally, Homonyms may be referred to those words that have identical pronunciations and identical spellings, but hold different meanings. For example- quail, the bird, and quail, to cringe.


The second and third types of classes are known as homophones, while the first and second classes are known as homographs.


An example of the concept of Homograph is the word lead, while the example of the concept of Homophone is the words dessert and desert. Individual scholars prefer to limit it to the third type of homonym.

2. Give Any Eight Examples of Homonyms.


Ate – The giraffe ate all the leaves.

Eight – Raita will meet you after the office at eight.


Bald – She is planning to go bald.

Bawled – Anita began to bawl like a child.


Band – Sam was the lead guitarist of the band.

Banned – Taking pets to the mall must be banned.


Beat – Will Roger be able to eat the champion of all times? 

Beet – Beet is healthy food.


Cent – Aaron was charged with 50 cents hospital bills.

Scent – The scent of rose water is sweet and refreshing.


Choir – Wella is a member of the church choir.

Quire – The scribe numbered the quires of the manuscript leaves.


Dual – Sam and Ram held a dual fight.

Duel – Do you think we should duel over this?


Hew – Carpenters hew the logs with an ax.

Hue – The hue of the prism represents the rainbow. 

3. What is the difference between homonyms, homophones, and homographs?


The all-important suffix word of homophones is “phone” which means “sound” whereas homographs indicate suffix “graph” which means writing and homonym has the characteristics of both as its definition says that they are those words that are spelled alike as well as sounds same.


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