Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the term for words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings? For example, there and their.

share|improve this question
3  
Are you looking for something other than homonym? –  Phire Jan 25 '13 at 21:00
    
    
see also... –  Mitch Jan 25 '13 at 21:25
    
@Phire they're definitely looking for something other than homonym, as homonyms must be homophonic as well as homographic, and they're looking for something heterographic. –  Jon Hanna Jan 25 '13 at 21:59
1  
add comment

closed as general reference by Mitch, J.R., Kristina Lopez, tchrist, MετάEd Jan 26 '13 at 0:23

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

They are heterographic homophones. They are also homophonic heterographs. All words that sound alike are homophones, and all words that are spelt differently are heterographs, and these are both.

share|improve this answer
    
There are also homographic homonyms, like bear (v) and bear (n), as well as the heterographic ones bare and Bayer. –  John Lawler Jan 25 '13 at 21:23
    
@JohnLawler well we could define homonym as a homographic homophone, but that would include polysemes as well as true homonyms that don't share etymological roots, or at least branched away from each other before moving closer again. –  Jon Hanna Jan 25 '13 at 21:58
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.