I'm talking about words like:

  • construct: CON-struct(n.), cun-STRUCT(v.)
  • present: PRE-sent(n.), pre-SENT(v.)
  • record: RE-cord(n.), ri-CORD(v.)

They are pronounced differently based on whether they are a noun or a verb.

Here are the terms I DON'T think would apply:

  1. Homograph: same spelling, different meanings: for example, bark (the sound of a dog) and bark (the skin of a tree).
  2. Homophone: same pronunciation, different meaning: for example, to and two
  3. Homonym: same pronunciation and spelling, different meanings: for example: bank (river bank or savings bank)
  4. Heteronym: same spelling, different pronunciations and meanings: for example bow (the front of a ship) and bow (a ranged weapon)

Bow is particularly interesting. It is a heteronym based on the two nouns I described. But in the sense of the body movement, the noun and the verb are pronounced alike (rhyming with wow), thus, not belonging to the category I've explained.

In fact none of the terms explained here on wikipedia satisfy my requirement.

I'm looking for the term for words that have same (or related at best, NOT different) meanings, same spelling and different pronunciation.

Specifically, different pronunciation depending on the part of speech. As against the words which have the same pronunciation in different parts of speech like bill, turn, case (or bigger ones like manoeuvre)


Fill in the blank:

The noun and verb forms of construct are pronounced differently because the word construct is a _____


The noun and verb forms of construct are pronounced differently because they are _____s.

  • Are you looking for Heteronyms: A pair (or group) of heteronyms are words that have the same spelling (they are homographs) but different pronunciation (they are heterophones) and also different meanings.fun-with-words.com/nym_heteronyms.html
    – user66974
    Apr 14, 2015 at 5:47
  • @Josh61: Heteronyms also have different meanings.
    – Tushar Raj
    Apr 14, 2015 at 5:50
  • 2
    @Tushar the words you mention do have different meanings for example construct as a verb means "to build or fabricate" while as a noun it means "a theoretical entity or a product of social or social circumstances"
    – Jim
    Apr 14, 2015 at 6:03
  • 1
    @Jim: I was afraid someone will misunderstand. Construct has several meanings, two of which are related. I'm talking about those. As in: "Construct a sentence using 'I wouldn't delude yourself' " / "That's not a valid construct"
    – Tushar Raj
    Apr 14, 2015 at 6:07
  • 1
    I think this is an overkill. The "word" is nothing special per se. Note that all the examples consist of a prefix and a root. The stress shifts between the prefix and the root depending on the semantic need. It has less to do with the POS and more with the meaning conveyed. This "phenomenon," if one could give it such a status, can theoretically take place in just about any root-adfix combo. Even otherwise, syllables in a simple polysyllabic can switch emphasis adapting to the environment. Just what I feel.
    – Kris
    Apr 14, 2015 at 7:19

2 Answers 2


According to Wikipedia, this phenomenon is called the initial-stress-derivation , where the noun is an initial-stress-derived noun.

  • Initial-stress derivation is a phonological process in English, wherein stress is moved to the first syllable of any of several dozen verbs when they become nouns or adjectives. (This is an example of a suprafix.) It is gradually becoming more standardized in some English dialects, but is not present in all, and the list of affected words differs from area to area, and whether a word is used metaphorically or not. At least 170 verb-noun (or adjective) pairs exist. Some examples are:

    • conflict, as a verb, "I hope that won't conflíct in any way." as a noun, "There will be no cónflict."
    • record, as a verb, "Remember to recórd the show!". as a noun, "I'll keep a récord of that request."
    • permit, as a verb, "I won't permít that." as a noun, "We already got a pérmit."
  • +1 That works, I guess, though there could be more resources out there with a detailed coverage.
    – Kris
    Apr 14, 2015 at 7:24
  • You're expected to make your own resources. Nobody is making any money collecting word lists. Apr 14, 2015 at 14:17
  • @Kris There does not appear to be an established name for these word pairs, at least not one that I could find. References are scarce, and lead back to an observation called "Phyfe's Rule" from the early 20th century that is cared about exclusively by mispronunciation bestiaries. Apr 14, 2015 at 15:11

These are a type of Homograph. The two pronunciations represent very closely related, but distinct, meanings.

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