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Homographs, Homophones, and Homonyms #2, by Dennis Oliver

Homophones, Homonyms, and
Homographs (#2)

 

In addition to homophones (words with the same sound, but different
spellings, meanings, or origins), there are also homographs (words
with the same spellings, but different meanings, origins, or
pronunciations. There are two large subgroups:

Subgroup 1:

These common words have the same spelling and pronunciation, but
very different meanings and/or origins. Common examples:

homographs differences*
bear (N)
bear (V)
bear (N): a kind of animal
bear (V): to carry
   
date (N)
date (V)
date (N): a kind of fruit; a calendar time
date (V): to determine the age; to "go out"
   
fast (Adj)
fast (V)
fast (Adj): quick
fast (V): to abstain from (choose not to eat) food
   
hide (N)
hide (V)
hide (N): animal skin
hide (V): to conceal
   
net (N)
net (Adj)
net (N): woven trap made of rope or cord
net (Adj): amount remaining after deductions
   
pick (N)
pick (V)
pick (N): a kind of tool
pick (V): to choose

* Check an English-English dictionary or an etymological dictionary
to see the different origins of many of these words.

Subgroup 2:

These words have the same spelling, but different stress. The stress
changes for the noun and verb forms of these words. Examples:

homographs* differences
áddress (N)
addréss (V)

address (N): where one lives

address (V): to give a speech; to write
an address

   
cómpress (N)
compréss (V)

compress (N): medicine put on a cloth
and worn next to the skin

compress (V): press together

   
éxport (N)
expórt (V)

export (N): something that is exported

export (V): to send a product outside a country (to be sold)

   
ínsult (N)
insúlt (V)

ínsult (N): insulting action or words

insúlt (V): to say or do something
which is offensive or rude

   
cónvert (N)
convért (Adj)

convert (N): someone who has changed
from one group (for example, a religion) to another

convert (V): to change from one form
to another

   
désert (N)
desért (V)
desert (N): dry place
desert (V): abandon

There are also homographs with the same spelling, but different
pronunciations and meanings. Here are a few examples:

read (present tense--pronounced [ ríyd ] /
read (past tense--pronounced [ red ]

lead (verb--pronounced [ líyd ] /
lead (noun [Pb]--pronounced [ led ]

do (noun [music]--pronounced [ dóu ] /
do (verb--pronounced [ dúw ]

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