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I played both words on Google translate and they sound exactly the same. I checked YouTube and there is a video that is supposed to show the difference but nothing that I could notice plus a other video of English speaker saying both sound the same.

So, regardless the context where the words are used, is there a way to notice the difference between those words when they are pronounced?

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    There is no difference, either in the video or by real people. – Mitch Jan 14 '18 at 23:27
  • @Mitch hey Mitch, why do you answer in a comment, and not in an answer? Just wondering...😊 – Jelila Jan 14 '18 at 23:35
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    You could look at the pronunciations given by reputable dictionaries. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 14 '18 at 23:37
  • I have no doubt that there are people who will claim they pronounce them differently. But it's unlikely that an impartial observer can tell the difference. You tell them apart based on context, which is a common need with many parts of English. – Hot Licks Jan 15 '18 at 0:49
  • (Consider that in many cases the context of a spoken word will affect it's real or apparent pronunciation far more than the specific homophone spoken.) – Hot Licks Jan 15 '18 at 0:53
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They are homophones. They're homophones in my dialect of AmE. They're homophones according to all the dictionaries I have checked (including the OED), which list /weɪst/ as the IPA pronunciation for both words in both BrE and AmE. And they've been homophones for a long time (see this book from 1818).

There are countless jokes out there that rely on the fact that these words are pronounced the same way:

Except for jokes like these that purposefully blur the line, it is almost always very obvious which one is meant in conversation because of context (and also tone of voice, to some extent). Sometimes the two words are confused in writing, and it's still obvious which is meant because of context.


I am not sure the point of that video you linked that "compares" the pronunciation. (However, although somewhat implied, it does not actually say that there is a difference.)

  • The links are there to show that I did some research. I normally add some videos and articles comparing two views so people with the same question can compare info. – vianna77 Jan 14 '18 at 23:57

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