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Homophones- Meaning and Examples

Homophones are words that have the same pronunciation, but different meanings and different spellings. The word, ‘Homo’ implies similarities.

Homophones- Meaning and Examples | English Medium

Types of Homophones

There can be various types of Homophones in the English language-

  • Homonyms

Ones that have the same spellings and pronunciation but different meanings. These types of homophones are also known as Homographs and/or Homonyms.

For example-

Rose (the flower) & Rose (past form of the verb, rise)

  • Heterographs

On the other hand, homophones that have different spellings and different meanings but similar pronunciations are called Heterographs.

For example-

Carat (the unit of gold purity) & Carrot (the vegetable)

  • Oronyms

Additionally, homophones of multiple phrases or words are known as Oronyms. These phrases are most commonly used in word games.

For example-

“I scream” & “Ice cream”

Examples

There can be a wide number of homophones of each type in the English language.
Let’s have a look at some of the most widely used homophones-

Word 1Word 2
Affect: Meaning- to make a difference on something
Example- Pollution affects the environment badly.
Effect: Meaning-  the result of something
Example- The teacher effected many changes in the time table.
Idle: Meaning- to be free; not being in motion
Example- He got used to sitting idle during the vacations.
Idol: Meaning- image or representation of God
Example- My mother is my idol.
Hole: Meaning- a hollow place in a solid body
Example- There was a hole in the wall.
Whole: Meaning- Complete
Example- She taught the whole class.
Knot: Meaning- to tie 0r fasten by looping a piece of string or rope
Example- She tied a knot at the end of the cord.
Not: Meaning- to forbid
Example-Do not go out during the afternoon.
In: Meaning- be enclosed or surrounded by something
Example- I kept the book in the drawer.
Inn: Meaning- a pub, generally in the country
Example- We stayed at the inn.
Him: Meaning- referring to a male person
Example- She was talking to him the other day.
Hymn: Meaning- a religious song or poem
Example- The mother was hymning to God.
Flour: Meaning- a powder obtained by grinding wheat or grains
Example- She bought the flour to make bread.
Flower: Meaning- the part of a plant that bears the seed
Example- I bought her a rose flower.
Fair: Meaning- human complexion, way of treating people equally
Example- The rules were not fair to the minor class.
Fare: Meaning- the money paid for for a journey on public transport
Example- The fare of a private cab is too high.
Coarse: Meaning- rough in texture
Example- Her woollen jacket was coarse.
Course: Meaning- route or direction
Example- The flights follow their own course.
Heel: Meaning- the back part of a human ankle
Example: She had pain in her heels.
Heal: Meaning- to become healthy again
Example- She healed very soon after being affected by the disease
Buy: Meaning- to purchase
Example- I will go to buy a dress tomorrow.
By: Meaning- identifying the agent of an action
Example- The food was prepared by my mother.
There: Meaning- referring to a place somewhere far away
Example- I will meet you there tomorrow.
Their: Meaning- referring to a group of people
Example- I did not like their way of talking to you.
Meet: Meaning- to be in the company of someone
Example- I will meet him after a month.
Meat: Meaning- the flesh of an animal
Example- She loves to eat meat.
Hear: Meaning- to listen to something
Example- I wanted to hear what she had to say.
Here: Meaning- to be at this place of position
Example- I called her here.
Won: Meaning- the past form of ‘win’
Example- She won the game last year.
One: Meaning- the lowest cardinal number
Example- There is room for only one person.
Know: Meaning- be aware of something
Example- I want to know about the course in english.
No: Meaning- to refuse to something
Example- I had no idea about where she was.
Hour: Meaning- a period of time
Example- I talked to her for an hour.
Our: Meaning- associated with the speaker and the second person
Example- This is all about our relation with them.
Sell: Meaning- give or hand over
Example- She will sell her house next year.
Cell: Meaning- a small room in which a prisoner is locked, the smallest unit of an organism
Example- The prisoners were given the food in their cells.
Wait: Meaning- stay where one is until a particular time or event
Example- She had to wait at the restaurant for a long time.
Weight: Meaning- a body’s relative mass
Example- She was at least 4kgs in weight when she was born.
Week: Meaning- a period of 7 days
Example- There are 4 weeks in a month.
Weak: Meaning- having little physical energy
Example- She had gone weak during her illness.
Wear: Meaning- have something to weak on body
Example- She will wear a blue dress tomorrow.
Where: Meaning- to what place or position
Example- Where were you yesterday?
Waist: Meaning- part of human body below the ribs and above the hips
Example- He put his arm around her waist.
Waste: Meaning- something which is not of use
Example- All the food that I made last night went to waste.
Stationary: Meaning- not moving
Example- The blood donation bus was stationary at the campus.
Stationery: Meaning- material used to write
Example- She bought a lot of stationery to practice calligraphy.
Sole: Meaning- the undersurface of a person’s foot
Example- The soles of their feet were dirty.
Soul: Meaning- the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal
Example- Their songs lacked soul.
Write: Meaning- mark letters, words or symbols on a surface
Example- She had a habit of writing
Right: Meaning- morally good or justifiable
Example- She believed herself to be right in the debate.
Some: Meaning- an unspecified amount
Example- There was some sugar in the tea.
Sum: Meaning- a particular amount of money
Example- I gave her a sum equal to her tuition fee.
Tail: Meaning- The hindmost part of an animal
Example- The dog was wagging its tail.
Tale: Meaning-the narrative of a story
Example- She narrated a delightful children’s tale.
Son: Meaning- A boy or man in relation to parents
Example- Their son was 21 years old.
Sun: Meaning- The star around which the earth rotates
Example- The sun sets in the east.
Sight: Meaning- vision
Example- The bird was out of her sight.
Site: Meaning- an area of ground on which a building is constructed
Example- The site was proposed for a shopping mall.
Seam: Meaning- a line where two pieces of fabric are sewn together
Example- This thread can be used to seam a garment.
Seem: Meaning- impression of something having a good quality
Example- She seemed annoyed with them.
Prey: Meaning- the animal that is hunted by another one for food
Example- The lion was looking for its prey.
Pray: Meaning- address a prayer to God
Example- She used to pray to God before becoming an atheist.
Plain: Meaning- simple or basic in character
Example- She wears plain clothes
Plane: Meaning- a plat surface
Example- She was sitting on a plane surface
Sail: Meaning- a wind catching apparatus
Example- We went out to sail on the lake.
Sale: Meaning- exchange of something for money
Example- She bought the dress on sale
Dear: Meaning- regarded with deep affection
Example- She was very dear to her parents.
Deer: Meaning- a wild animal
Example- She saw a deer in the zoo.
Eye: Meaning- a pair of organs in human body used for sight
Example- She could not see through her eyes.
I: Meaning- a letter in the English alphabets, referring to oneself
Example- I did not like to talk to her.
Complement: Meaning- contributing extra features to something
Example- Her dress complemented her beauty.
Compliment: Meaning- to praise somebody or something
Example- She was used to receiving compliments from him.
Cereal: Meaning- a grain used for food
Example- She ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast.
Serial: Meaning- a story or play appearing in regular installments
Example- She is watching a new three-part drama serial.
Brake: Meaning- device used to stop a moving vehicle
Example- She used the brakes as a dog came in front of her car.
Break: Meaning- separate into pieces, interrupt
Example- She took a break from studying.
Aisle: Meaning- passage between rows of seats
Example- She was walking down the aisle.
Isle: Meaning- a small island
Example- She went to an isle for her honeymoon.
Mail: Meaning- letters and parcels sent by post
Example- I received a mail yesterday.
Male: Meaning- masculine
Example- The audience had more males than females.
None: Meaning- not any
Example- None of us wanted to go to the class.
Nun: Meaning- a member of religious community of women
Example- The Church had a lot of nuns.
Root: Meaning- origin of something, generally, part of a plant attached to the ground
Example- The cactus has deep roots.
Route: Meaning- a way or course taken to get from starting to an ending point
Example- The route between Mumbai and Goa is scenic.
Sea: Meaning- expanse of salt water covering most of the part of the earth
Example- There is a ban of dumping the waste into the sea.
See: Meaning- vision
Example- She could finally see through her eyes after the surgery.
Principal:
Meaning- important, main
Example- Delhi is India’s principal city.
Principle: Meaning- a fundamental truth or proposition
Example- The judge followed the basic principles of justice.
Suite: Meaning- a set of room designated for a person’s or family’s use
Example- They booked a suite for the new couple.
Sweet: Meaning- the taste of sugar or honey
Example- The tea was very hot and sweet
Tow: Meaning- to pull a vehicle with a chain or rope
Example- The police had to tow the car standing in the middle of the road.
Toe: Meaning- the finger at the end of the foot
Example- She cut her toe with a big stone.
Way: Meaning- method or style of doing something
Example- I did not like their way of cooking.
Weigh: Meaning- find out how heavy someone or something is
Example- The suitcase weighed beyond 15kg.
Poor: Meaning- lacking sufficient money 
Example- The maid was too poor to buy a TV.
Pour: Meaning- flow rapidly in a steady stream
Example- She poured some water to the glass.

The above list consists of almost all the common homophones that we use daily, along with their meanings.

You can keep checking English Medium for more such informative blogs.

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