Homographs – Online English Lessons

February 27, 2013 by Angela Boothroyd

A homograph is one of two or more words that have the same spelling; but have different origins, meanings and often different pronunciation.

From homo (same) and graph (written)

Examples:

bat – /bæt/ – a piece of wood used for hitting a ball in games such as cricket, baseball and table tennis

   bat – /bæt/ – a nocturnal flying mammal

♦  fair – /feəʳ /  US /fer/ – reasonable, according to the rules, free from prejudice

    fair – /feəʳ /  US /fer/ – with light-coloured hair or complexion

♦  lead – /liːd/ – to guide, conduct or control

    lead – led – a metal

wave – /weɪv/ – to move your hand from side to side as a greeting or farewell

   wave – /weɪv/ – a moving swell or ridge on the surface or the edge of a body of water

wind – /wɪnd/ – the natural movement of air (as in the weather)

   wind – /wnd/ – to tighten the spring of a clock or watch by turning a key or spindle

See also, homophone.

Your turn Can you think of any more examples of homographs?

Image © Stefano Mortellaro

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