While there are homophones like bear and bare, and homographs like sow, the pig, and to sow a seed, is there a term for words that cover both categories? The example that comes to mind for me is to cleave. Is there a term for when they overlap?

1 Answer 1



In linguistics, a homonym is, in the strict sense, one of a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings. Thus homonyms are simultaneously homographs (words that share the same spelling, irrespective of their pronunciation) and homophones (words that share the same pronunciation, irrespective of their spelling).

enter image description here

  • So, correct me if I'm mistaken, but is the way I was using the word homophone perhaps implying the tag of a heterograph as well? Could you explain it if I'm wrong?
    – Elizabite
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 23:40

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