See also: Homograph



From homo- +‎ -graph.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈhɒməɡɹɑːf/, /ˈhəʊməɡɹæf/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈhɑːməɡɹæf/, /ˈhoʊməɡɹæf/
  • (file)
  • (file)


  • bear (mammal) and bear (to support)

homograph (plural homographs)

  1. A word that is spelled the same as another word, usually having a different etymology.
  2. (computing) A text character or string that looks identical to another when rendered.
    Hyponym: homoglyph

Usage notesEdit

Homographs are a kind of homonym in the loose sense of that term, i.e. a word that is either a homophone (same sound) or a homograph (same spelling). (The strict sense of homonym is a word that both sounds and is spelled the same as another word.) Specifically, homographs must have the same spelling, though they usually have different meanings and may be pronounced differently.

  • The verb bear (to carry) and the noun bear (large omnivorous mammal) are homographs with the same pronunciation and different etymological origins.
  • The verb alternate (to go back and forth) and the adjective alternate (following by turns) are homographs with different pronunciations but close etymological origins. Such homographs are also heteronyms.
  • The verb meet (to encounter) and the noun meat (food) are not homographs since they have different spellings.

Related termsEdit


See alsoEdit

An Euler diagram showing the relationship between these -nyms.
Nyms (with category [cat] if any)
nym Sound Spelling Meaning phone/graph
homonym same same different homophone & homograph
heteronym (cat) different same different homograph
heterograph same different different homophone (cat)
heterophone different same same homograph
synonym different different same
alternative spelling same different same homophone
identical same same same not applicable
distinct different different different

Further readingEdit