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Questions tagged [homonyms]

The tag has no usage guidance.

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Does it make sense to use a word that is both a noun & a verb in a sentence both ways?

I might have worded that weird but I could have sworn I read it was grammatically correct to do so, but I can't find any backing to it now and it's driving me crazy! xD For example, as weird and ...
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2answers
33 views

Opposing homonyms [duplicate]

I'm aware of precisely one word that is spelled and pronounced the same, yet has a completely opposite meaning depending on its context: sanction. On one hand, it is official permission for something....
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4answers
189 views

Why do ash (trees) and ash (burnt residue) have the same name?

I've often wondered why ash (trees) and ash (burnt residue) have the same name. I've looked up the origin of both words, but I don't see anything that explains why the names are the same. From the ...
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1answer
227 views

If my boat is sinking should I bale or bail the water out?

From various literary examples it appears that I should manually 'bail' out the water to keep afloat but the automated water removal system in my vessel is a 'baling pump'. While there is this, I ...
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3answers
138 views

Scimitar or Cimitar?

I'm a cook at a restaurant. My liberal arts education combined with a classical culinary education helps me figure out most stuff on my own, but occasionally I'm unsure. The grey area, fuzzy logic. ...
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1answer
76 views

Patient patient

The other day one of my students asked me an interesting question: why is patient as an adjective identical to patient as a noun? Isn't it because a patient has to be patient to recover (follow the ...
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40 views

Terminology for sentence with heterographs that can be read at a different starting point with a different meaning?

There's a song lyric that, when repeated, becomes a different sentence even though it's pronounced the same: You're worn out sole to heel becomes To heal your worn-out soul You're worn out ...
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1answer
117 views

A word for a singular/plural homonym?

Wikipedia tells me that indicia is the plural of indicium meaning an indication or sign : Harry Potter names, characters and related indicia are copyright. But indicia is also : A preprinted ...
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160 views

What makes a homonym a homonym?

While reading this post it occurred to me that using the simple definition, one of two or more words spelled and pronounced alike but different in meaning that most every word could be ...
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3answers
842 views

Extreme homonyms

I am looking for an example of extreme homonyms (same spelling different meaning). By extreme I mean drastically different in meaning. For example "bow" - a weapon to shoot projectiles with "bow" -...
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0answers
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Are verbs “to run” as in “to run a business” and “to run” as in “to run a marathon” considered to be homonyms/homographs?

Or is there just a single verb "to run" that has different meanings and therefore it cannot be considered a homonym/homograph to itself?
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4answers
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Does the modern definition of “awful” come from its homonym to “offal”?

The following lines are found in Act I, Scene III of Julius Caesar: What trash is Rome, What rubbish and what offal, when it serves For the base matter to illuminate So vile a thing as Caesar!...
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wrought/wring for cloth vs iron

Wrought iron is characterised by how it has been squashed/beaten into shape. Also, one could wring water from a cloth by strong physical manipulations. I assume these words have a common origin, but ...
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1answer
75 views

Trying To Determine If There Is A Definition For This Type Of Spell/Word Play

Apologies for the extremely vague title but considering I don't even know how to properly phrase what I'm trying to ask, I had no idea how else to describe it. Basically I am familiar with homographs ...
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0answers
142 views

Bear and Bare - Do you hear the difference? Perhaps those in NJ or NY? [closed]

So, for instance, Carrey and Berry have a difference with the vowels. Does anyone hear the difference in the two examples I gave? I am looking for the truest definition of "Homophone."
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Sporting homonyms [closed]

"Golf club" is an interesting phrase because it is equally the implement used to play the game and also the place where the game is played. Can you give any other example like this? A single clear, ...
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2answers
16k views

Why is “genius” often misspelt as “geniOus”? What are its etymons, etymology, homonyms and similar words? [closed]

Why do people confuse between similar or related words: genius, ingenious, genuous and ingenuous? Why has "genious" not been a valid word unlike both genuous and ingenuous, and genuine and ingenuine? ...
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1answer
408 views

Technical Term for Incorrect Homonym/Synomym Error

I am looking for the technical term for a specific kind of speech/writing error which is the bad intersection of homonyms, synonyms, and words with meaning which are related in one context but not ...
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Is the expanded form of “UTC” ever spelled with an diæresis?

I've always seen "UTC" expanded as Coordinated Universal Time. In addition, both the Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica entries, as well as pretty much every reference to it I've ever seen that I ...
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3answers
2k views

Could “giving aids” be ambiguous?

In Wiktionary the noun aid is defined as aid (plural aids) 1. Help; assistance; succor, relief.   He came to my aid when I was foundering. 2. A helper; an assistant.   3. Something which ...
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2answers
3k views

Homophones/Homonyms/Homographs

I apologise in advance if this is a duplicate, but I did search this site and did not find exactly what I was after. I've been searching on Google for a while now regarding homophones, homonyms and ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a word for homonyms across languages? [duplicate]

For example, the words design in English and Dasein (being there) in German look similar, but mean something completely different.
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0answers
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Why do “supposed” and “expected” both have similar dual meanings of assumed/predicted or obligated?

"You are supposed to pay your taxes" This could mean that you should pay your taxes, under obligation. It could also mean that someone (probably the speaker) has presumed that you do pay your taxes. ...
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2answers
374 views

How do you deal with homonyms in a list?

I was thinking about it, and, is there a proper way to deal with having homonyms in a list? Would you characterize it as one object, for example: I have two notebooks in my bag. Or would you treat ...
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0answers
84 views

What word in the English language has the most independently derived homonyms? [duplicate]

I learned about yet another meaning for the word mode (and modal) today, and wondered, not for the first time, if there is any word in the English dictionary with more completely distinct meanings ...
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1answer
800 views

What is the origin of the shift of meaning of “sauté”?

As I'm dealing a lot of recipes and text on cooking written in English, I'm confronted all the time with a trend which makes understanding quite hard sometimes. The original French word "sauté" has ...
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4answers
383 views

Source for tracing evolution of specific polysemes, e.g. “catamaran”?

Does anyone know a dictionary (or other resource) that traces the etymologies of words in such detail as to show how two, three ... different meanings may have come to apply to a given word? This ...
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3answers
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Is there a relationship between “boxing” (sport) and “box” (packaging)? [closed]

How is boxing (the sport) related to box (packaging)? Is there a relationship between the words which I am not aware of?
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1answer
1k views

Where can I find a dictionary for homonyms? [closed]

I want to know where I can find a dictionary that I can look up homonyms of a word. For instance if I type in alien it will show me the word salient. That dictionary should base on the sound itself, ...
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1answer
640 views

Curious words that make me suspicious

I'm curious about that curious object. I'm suspicious of that suspicious stranger. I'm dubious about that dubious plan. I can't think of any other words that allow this: using the same term ...
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1answer
2k views

Homonyms/homophones and proper nouns

I introduced my 6-year-old to the concept of "homonyms" (though I've probably got it conflated with homophones or vice-versa). Since then he's been trying to find homonyms. He asked me just now: "Can ...
2
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1answer
439 views

Is there a term for the convergent evolution of homonyms?

Some homonyms, like "punch", originated in different languages with different spellings. The violent act "punch" comes from the English word "pounce", while the beverage "punch" comes from the Hindi ...
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1answer
646 views

What is the word for a phrase which uses a homonym with two of its meanings?

For example, the phrase "I'm stuck on Band-Aid and Band-Aid's stuck on me" or "He books time to read books".
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2answers
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What do you call it when someone misunderstands a homonym? [duplicate]

I once ran across a term for the error of misunderstanding the meaning or sense of a word because one doesn't know exactly what the word is. For example, someone mistakenly thinks that the phrase is "...
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1answer
2k views

What are “identical words” as distinct from homonyms?

The wikipedia entry on homonyms contains the following diagram: In the very center of that image is a category labeled "identical words" which is separate from the rest but is at the intersection of "...
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2answers
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Are homonyms considered single words?

There are many homonyms in the English language, words that are spelled the same and pronounced the same but have different meanings. A few examples: A grizzly bear can bear great weight. I stake out ...
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1answer
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“They are there.” and “They're there.” versus “There they are.” and “There they're.”

Are any of the phrases in the title incorrect in any way? Do the meanings differ in any way? Is one preferred over the other and if so then why? I find this particularly interesting for many reasons ...
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3answers
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Equivalent of homonym for terms and phrases

A homonym is a word with two distinct meanings, for instance: chase (from dict.org) To pursue for the purpose of killing or taking, as an enemy, or game; to hunt. [1913 Webster] ...
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1answer
4k views

How did homonyms come into existence?

Words like bank, bat, bear, fine, fair, number, row, etc., each have multiple meanings but are pronounced and spelled in the same way. How can one word mean different things?
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1answer
444 views

Is there a difference between “jamb” and “jam”?

Is there a difference between jamb and jam? I recently wrote a letter describing someone who had jambed their hand on a stair bannister and the usage was questioned.
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3answers
2k views

Are the noun and verb forms of “badger” related etymologically?

Are the noun "badger", naming an animal, and the verb "to badger", describing the behavior of a person, related etymologically? Does the meaning of one come directly from the other? What about the ...