Homograph Examples

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Homographs are words with different pronunciation, meanings and origins but the same spelling. They are not to be confused with homonyms, homophones and heteronyms. In order to work out which pronunciation and which meaning is appropriate, you need to be aware of the context. Here are a few homographs and their meanings:

  • agape – with mouth open OR love
  • bass – type of fish OR low, deep voice
  • bat -  piece of sports equipment OR an animal
  • bow – type of knot OR to incline
  • down – a lower place OR soft fluff on a bird
  • entrance – the way in OR to delight
  • evening – smoothing out OR after sunset
  • fine – of good quality OR a levy
  • learned – past tense of learn OR knowledgeable
  • minute – tiny OR unit of time
  • moped – was gloomy OR motorcyle
  • number – more numb OR numerical value
  • row – line OR argument OR propel a boat
  • sewer – drain OR person who sews
  • wave – move the hand in greeting OR sea water coming into shore
  • wound – past tense of wind OR to injure

Linguist John Higgins has prepared a comprehensive list of homographs in various categories, including those where the meanings are related but the part of speech and pronunciation change.

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95 thoughts on “Homograph Examples”

  1. examples of homographs are….

    ” dance ”
    dance as a noun …. dance is also a passion…
    dance as a verb …. i dance gracefully

    ” object ”
    object as a noun …. that sharp object.
    object as a verb …. the boy object to his answer

    ” record ”
    record as a noun …. the teacher left his class record.
    record as a verb …. i am about to record this.

  2. Put quite simply, a homograph is a group (usually a pair) of words that are spelled the same way, but have different meanings. They may or may not be pronounced the same way, although the difference in pronunciation is often just a shift in the accented syllable. For example, there is a whole class of homographs that end in -ate, usually with one being a verb and the other being a noun or an adjective related to it. For example, “advocate” can be pronounced /’ædvəkeɪt/ and mean “to speak or write in support of,” or it can be pronounced /’ædvəkət/ and refer to a person who supports or pleads the cause of another.

  3. Examples of HomographsNow that you know what they are, here are 40 examples of homographs. This is just a small sample of all the homographs that exist. There are hundreds more just in English, not to mention the homographs that exist in other languages and the ones that exist between languages.

    accent – stress or emphasis/a manner of speaking or pronunciation influenced by the region in which one lives or grew up
    agape – wide open/a Greek word meaning “love”
    attribute – a characteristic or quality/to think of as belonging to or originating in some person, place or thing
    axes – the plural of ax or axe/the plural of axis
    bass – a deep voice or tone/a kind of fish
    bat – a piece of sporting equipment used in baseball/a winged animal associated with vampires
    bow – to bend at the waist/the front of a boat/a pair of tied loops
    buffet – to hit, punch or slap/a self-serve food bar
    bustier – an undergarment/more busty
    compact – small/to make small/a small case for holding makeup
    compound – to mix or combine/an enclosed area with a building or group of buildings inside
    content – happy or satisfied/all that is contained inside something
    contract – an agreement/to get, acquire or incur
    coordinates – brings into proper place or order/a set of numbers used to calculate position
    desert – a hot, arid region/to leave
    digest – a condensed version of some information/to change food in the stomach into a form that can be absorbed by the body
    discount – a reduction in price/to underestimate the significance of or give no credence to
    does – female deer (plural)/present, third person singular form of the verb “do”
    down – in a lower position/soft, furry feathers
    entrance – the place of entry/to bewitch, delight or enrapture
    evening – late afternoon/making more even
    fine – very good/sharp or keen/delicate or subtle/a sum of money paid to settle a matter
    frequent – occurring regularly/to visit a place with regularity
    incense – a substance that produces a pleasant odor when burned/to infuriate or make very angry
    lead – to go first with followers behind/a type of metal
    minute – 60 seconds or 1/60th of an hour/extremely small
    moped – acted sad or gloomy/a bicycle with a motor
    object – a thing you can see or touch/a goal/a noun that receives the action of a verb/to be opposed to
    proceeds – advances or continues on/the money or profit gained from some sale or venture
    produce – to create or make/fresh fruits and vegetables
    project – a plan or proposal/to throw or hurl forward/to cause a shadow or image to fall upon a surface
    putting – the present participle of put/the present participle of putt
    number – a numeral/to count/more numb
    refuse – waste or garbage/to reject or decline to accept
    row – a fight/to propel a boat forward using oars/a line
    second – 1/60th of a minute/after the first
    subject – under some authority or control/to bring under authority or control/to make liable or vulnerable/a topic/the noun in a sentence about which something is said in the predicate
    tear – to rip/a drop of water from the eye
    wind – to turn/moving air
    wound – turned/an injury

  4. row, perfect, does, minute, bow, excuse, close, content, wound, present, read, record, tear, use, wrap, dove, produce, contract,desert.

  5. homographs word that have the same spelling but differ in origin meaning and sometimes pronunciations

  6. affect: to change/a person’s emotions
    alternate: to switch back and forth/the second choice
    are: plural of to be/ 100 square meters
    attribute: a characteristic/to give regard to
    bass: a type of a fish/the low tones of music or an stringed instrument which plays low tones
    bow: a device to shoot an arrow/to bend one’s head down or the front of a ship
    bowed: bent/to bend over
    buffet: a blow or be affected by blows/a large sideboard or a self-served meal of various dishes
    close: to be near/to shut
    combine: a farming machine which threshes/to put together
    conduct: one’s behavior/to lead (oops there is another one) such as a symphony
    console: to comfort/the interface for an instrument
    content: to be satisfied/that which is contained within
    contest: to compete in a match of skills/make an argument against something
    contract: an agreement/to shrink or make a deal on a project
    convert: to change one’s belief system/one whose belief system has been changed
    converse: to talk/the opposite
    convict: a prisoner/to find one guilty of a charge
    crooked: sharply curved/a muscle spasm in one’s neck
    deliberate: to carefully consider/to purposely do
    desert: to abandon/an arid or barren area
    digest: to convert food to simpler compounds/to condense a written work
    do: the first tone of the diatonic scale/to accomplish
    does: multiple female deer/to perform
    dove: a bird/to have jumped off
    drawer: one who draws/a boxlike compartment that pushes in and pulls out
    drawers: multiple people who draw/underpants
    entrance: an entryway/to put into a trance
    excuse: to pardon or forgive/an explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness
    gyro: short for gyroscope/a type of sandwich with roasted lamb
    house: a dwelling/to provide living quarters
    incense: a burnt aromatic/to make angry
    intern: a physician training after medical school/to confine
    intimate: personal/to hint
    invalid: an ill person/ not valid
    laminate: to make in layers/a composite made of layers
    lather: to make foam/a workman who puts up laths
    lead: to guide/a soft dense metal
    live: verb meaning to have life/adjective meaning to have life or being on
    lives: verb meaning to have life/plural noun meaning many with life
    micrometer: one-millionth of a meter/a device used to measure small distances
    minute: small/sixty seconds
    moderate: of medium or average quality/to preside or direct
    mow: to cut down/a type of a gull/a stack of hay
    multiply: to times two numbers/to do in many ways
    number: a mathematical integer like 1, 2, 3,…/to deprive of further feeling
    nun: a female religious/the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
    object: something perceptible/to dissent
    pasty: medium consistency/a meat pie
    pate: a meat paste/the crown of a head, usually bald/a porcelain paste
    perfect: to make correct/that which is correct
    periodic: occasional or repetitive/an iodine compound
    permit: to allow something to be done/a document giving permission
    present: a gift or that which is happening now/to give a talk or demonstration
    primer: a elementary book/the undercoating done prior to applying paint
    produce: vegetables/to bring forth
    project: to thrust outward/a plan or housing development
    pussy: to be filled with pus/a kitten
    putting: to hit a golf ball on a green/to place in a specific location
    raven: to devour/a large black bird
    rebel: to resist/one who resists
    record: to write down/a list or phonograph disk
    recreation: a leisurely pastime/to remake
    refuse: to deny/garbage
    relay: a race involving multiple individuals/to lay again
    reside: to live in a place/to change a side
    resign: to quit/to sign again
    resume: to restart/a CV or document of experience
    row: a series of objects in a straight line/a fight
    sake: purpose/a Japanese rice drink
    secrete: to generate/to conceal
    secreted: to have generated/to hide out of sight
    separate: to divide up into groups/disunited or a garment
    sewer: one who sews/a conduit for transporting sewage
    slough: a swamp/to shed
    sow: to scatter seeds/an adult female hog
    subject: the theme or topic/to force one’s will onto another
    tear: liquid drops secreted by the eye/to pull apart
    wind: to encircle/moving air
    wound: to have been wrapped in a circular manner/an injury

  7. @random john:
    I have never heard a person who sews called a “sewer” either I would say they are a seamstress instead.

  8. I agree with Annie. My mother was a seamstress and my god father was a tailor.

    You can use you hand to bat away someone’s unwanted touch, or spoken comments.

  9. 1. Aye/Eye/I
    2. Ate/Eight/ Hate
    3. Allowed/Aloud
    4. Altar/Alter
    5. Be/Bee
    6. Bail/Bale
    7. bare/bear
    8. baron/barren
    9. base/bass
    10. baste/based
    11. beach/beech
    12. bean/been
    13. beat/beet
    14. berries/buries
    15. berth/birth
    16. buy/by
    17. billed/build
    18. blew/blue
    19. boar/bore
    20. bough/bow
    21. boy/buoy
    22. brake/break
    23. bread/bred
    24. canon/cannon
    25. ceiling/sealing
    26. cell/sell
    27. cent/scent/sent
    28. cereal/serial
    29. cheap/cheep
    30. chews/choose
    31. chord/cord
    32. chute/shoot
    33. cite/sight/site
    34. clause/claws
    35. coarse/course
    36. coward/cowered
    37. currant/current
    38. cymbal/symbol
    39. days/daze
    40. dear/deer
    41. desert/dessert
    42. dew/due/do
    43. die/dye
    44. doe/dough
    45. dual/duel
    46. earn/urn
    47. ewe/yew
    48. facts/fax
    49. faint/feint
    50. fair/fare
    51. faze/phase
    52. flea/flee
    53. flew/flu
    54. flour/flower
    55. for/fore/four
    56. foul/fowl
    57. frees/freeze/frieze
    58. fur/fir
    59. genes/jeans
    60. grate/great
    61. groan/grown
    62. guilt/gilt
    63. hair/hare
    64. heal/heel
    65. hear/here
    66. heard/herd
    67. higher/hire
    68. him/hymn
    69. hoes/hose
    70. holy/wholly
    71. horse/hoarse
    72. hour/our
    73. idle/idol
    74. in/inn
    75. knot/not
    76. laps/lapse
    77. lays/laze
    78. lead/led
    79. leak/leek
    80. lessen/lesson
    81. lightening/lightning
    82. loan/lone
    83. made/maid
    84. mail/male
    85. maize/maze
    86. manner/manor
    87. meat/meet
    88. medal/meddle
    89. mind/mined
    90. miner/minor
    91. missed/mist
    92. moose/mousse
    93. morning/mourning
    94. none/nun
    95. ode/owed
    96. pain/pane
    97. pair/pare
    98. pause/paws
    99. peace/piece
    100. peak/peek
    101. plain/plane
    102. pore/pour
    103. pray/prey
    104. profit/prophet
    105. rain/reign
    106. read/reed
    107. red/read
    108. real/reel
    109. right/write
    110. role/roll
    111. root/route
    112. sail/sale
    113. scene/seen
    114. sea/see
    115. soar/sore
    116. sole/soul
    117. some/sum
    118. stair/stare
    119. steal/steel
    120. storey/story
    121. tea/tee
    122. tail/tale
    123. taught/taut
    124. team/teem
    125. tern/turn
    126. tied/tide
    127. to/too/two
    128. toed/toad/towed
    129. vale/veil
    130. vane/vain/vein
    131. wail/whale
    132. waste/waist
    133. wait/weight
    134. ware/wear/where
    135. way/whey/weigh
    136. weather/whether
    137. weak/week
    138. which/witch
    139. whine/wine
    140. whirred/word
    141. warn/worn

    These are the examples for Homophones

  10. “These are the examples for Homophones”

    131. wail/whale
    134. ware/wear/where
    135. way/whey/weigh
    136. weather/whether
    137. weak/week
    138. which/witch
    139. whine/wine
    140. whirred/word

    AAAHHH! The pain in my head! No No NO! NOOO!! Save us from the unaspirated heathens!!

  11. Example of homographs sentence:

    Your sole prayer is to play ball with me

    Homographs: SOLE

    Example of word:

    To apply for this job, you must know to apply paint.


  12. I disagree with 12: been is pronounced Ben by some 21: bout is a two syllable word. 81: lightening is a three syllable word. 138,139,140: wh is pronounced slightly differently than w.

  13. My favorite homonym is refuse. 1 meaning garbage, ref-use. The other meaning, to decline acceptance; re-fuse. Gotta love the English language.

  14. Does anyone know if there is a differentiating category for words like:
    Words that are homographs but with one being a proper noun and uppercase?

  15. Some of your examples of homographs are really homonyms. Homographs are words that are spelled the same, but have a different pronunciation and meaning, like bass, which has one pronunciation when referring to a fish, and another as a musical term. However, bat, fine, and down, for example, are homonyms, which have both the same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings.

  16. Some of your homographs are homonyms, just saying that if you could tell me another pronunciation of bat, down, wave, and fine, that would be greatly appreciated. I would like this to be fixed, as you currently are the top result on google

  17. Fossa- a Madagascarian animal that’s a member of the mongoose and civet family, OR a an anatomical pit, groove, or depression.

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