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 ENGLISH  VOCABULARY

HOMONYMS


What are homonyms?


Homonyms include two sub categories: Homographs and Homophones

Homographs are words  with  the same spelling  but  a different meaning.
Homophones are words with the same sound but have different meanings.

This list of frequently-used homonyms below, with examples of their use,
is designed to help English learners.

HOMONYMS

Word

Homograph

(same spelling)

Homophone

(same sound)

Example


air heir I'm going out for some fresh air;
George is the heir to the throne.
allowed aloud Children are not allowed in the casino.
Could you read the letter aloud please? 
ate   eight The littlel boy ate all the biscuits.
There were eight biscuits on the plate.
 
band band Keep them together with a rubber band.
A band of thieves arrived in the area.
bank bank My salary is paid into my bank account.
I often walk along the bank of the river.
bare bear The floor was bare, with not even a rug.
Polar bears can be found in the Arctic Circle.
bark bark Some dogs bark a lot.
Cork comes from the bark of a tree.
bat bat   You need a bat to play baseball.
A bat flies at night.
bread   bred We need bread to make sandwiches.
Charles was born and bred in England.
bow   bough The actors bowed to the audience.
A bough of the tree nearly touched the ground.
 
cell cell sell The human body is composed of millions of cells.
The prisoner was kept in a cell.
The shop sells fruit and vegetables.
cent   sent /scent There are 100 cents in a dollar.
His mother sent him to buy the newspaper.
Do you like the scent of lavender?
cereal serial Alex has cereal for breakfast.
Serials are popular on TV.
close close
Close the door please.
The cinema is close to the church.
coarse   course He wore a coarse woollen jacket.
She is taking a course in Chinese.
 
dear   deer Dear Mr. Brown.
The female deer is called a doe.
die   dye It's very sad to die young.
I'm going to dye my hair red.
       
eight   ate Eight is the double of four.
He ate everything on his plate.
 
fair fair fare Our teacher is fair. She treats us all equally.
The weather was quite fair all week.
How much is the bus fare?
fan fan   Did the Rolling Stones have many fans?
It's so hot!  Please turn on the fan.
fine fine   My grandmother is feeling fine today.
Jack got a fine for illegal parking.
flea   flee Cats and dogs often get fleas.
Hundreds of refugees are trying to flee the country.
flower   flour My mother has a variety of flowers in her garden.
Flour is used to make cakes and pastries.
 
great   grate Tom!  It's great to see you!
Grate cheese over the dish, then put it in the oven.
ground ground   Julie loves the smell of ground coffee.
The boy fell on the ground and hurt his knee.
 
hair   hare She keeps her hair shoulder-length.
A hare is a bit like a rabbit with longer ears.
hall   haul Let's meet in the entrance hall in 30 mins.
I had to haul my suitcase up 3 flights of stairs!
hangar   hanger Each plane is in a separate hangar.
Here's a hanger to hang up your coat.
heal   heel His wounds took quite some time to heal.
I can't walk in high heels!
hear   here Did you hear what I said?
Come here and look at this photograph!
hole   whole The old man's sweater was full of holes.
Alex ate the whole bar of chocolate!
       
key   quay I'd open the door if I had the key.
A crowd on the quay waited for the boat to arrive.
knight night The Knights of the Round Table.
They worked day and night to finish the project.
know no "Do you know that man?"
"No, I don't."
       
lie lie   "Don't lie to me. Tell me the truth!"
"I'm going to lie down and have a rest."
 
mail   male The contract will be sent by mail.
Human beings are either male or female.
mean mean   What does 'homonym' mean?
He's wealthy but mean; he won't make a donation.
meat   meet Meat is an excellent source of protein.
I suggest we meet at 12.30 for lunch tomorrow.
 
none nun We've eaten all the apples. There are none left.
A nun takes religious vows and lives in a convent.
 
one   won You can have one sweet only.
Jack won the tennis match last week.
 
pail   pale She used a pail of water to wash the dishes.
"You look a bit pale. Are you feeling ok?"
pair pear "I need a pair of scissors to cut the thread."
In the fruit bowl there were apples and pears.
peace   piece After years of civil war the people wanted peace.
"Would you like a piece of chocolate?"
plain plain plane She looked elegant in a plain simple dress.
His disapproval was plain to see.
The plane to London left at 3 p.m.
pupil pupil   The teacher reminded the pupils to arrive on time.
The pupil is in the centre of the iris of the eye.
 
race race "Which horse won the race on Saturday?"
People of all races can live in harmony here.
read   reed He finds it difficult to read without his glasses.
Reeds are grass-like plants that grow near the water.
right   write "That's right. Your answer is correct!"
"I'm going to write a letter of application for the job."
ring ring   The young couple exchanged wedding rings.
The children sat in a ring around the teacher.
The church bells ring for the morning service.
role   roll George Clooney played the main role in the film.
They bought 3 rolls of wallpaper.
Don't let the ball roll across the road.
root route The root of a plant is in the soil.
They looked for the straightest route home.
row row   We got seats in the front row.
Julie is not happy; she had a row with her boyfriend.
 
sail   sale Jack got in his boat to sail  across the bay.
The salesman gets a commission on each sale.
sea see Dolphins live in the sea.
Look!  Can you see the dolphins?
sew sow A button fell off my coat, so I had to sew it back on.
Every spring he sows flower seeds in his garden.
sight site   My grandfather can't see well.  His sight is failing.
The town authorities have bought a site for a school.
sole sole soul There were holes in the soles of his shoes.
He was the sole survivor of the plane crash.
Christians believe that the soul exists after death.
some   sum Some people fine English difficult, others find it easy.
The sum of 2 and 2 is 4.
son   sun Their son is called Tom; their daughter is called Eva.
People wear suncream when they lie in the sun.
stair   stare Stairs lead from one floor to another.
It's very rude to stare at other people.
stake stake steak A strong wooden stick can be called a stake.
Drive carefully; your life is at stake.
His favourite meal is steak and chips.
steal   steel It's dishonest to steal. You must give that back!
Steel is used to make vehicles and machinery.
suite   sweet A set of rooms in a hotel is called a suite.
Sugar has a sweet taste.
 
tail   tale Cats and dogs have tails.
Children love listening to fairy tales.
tear tear   The story was so sad a tear rolled down her cheek.
Be careful not to tear the newspaper.
tip tip   He gave the waiter a tip.
Do you need some advice? I can give you a tip.
toast toast   I usually have tea and toast for breakfast.
Guests raise their glasses to toast the bridal couple.
toe   tow Each foot has five toes.
The police will tow your car away if you park there.
vain vain vein She's a vain person who has a high opinion of herself.
Our efforts were in vain; the project failed.
Veins in the body carry blood to the heart.
 
waist   waste She wore a red belt around her waist.
Turn off the tap.  We mustn't waste water.
wait weight I had to wait 10 minutes for the bus.
If you eat too much you'll put on weight.
way   weigh Can you tell me the way to the station please?
That looks heavy. How much does it weigh?
weak week My mother still feels weak after her illness.
There are seven days in a week.
which witch Which do you prefer, the blue one or the green one?
In fairy stories a witch has evil powers.
wind wind We can't go windsurfing if there's no wind.
I'm going to wind a bandage around your arm.
wound wound   I wound up the old alarm clock and got into bed.
Several bullet wounds were found on his body.

See also  synonyms  Ι antonyms  Ι comparative table

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