English Homonyms

The following is a list of English homonyms. A homonym is a pair, sometimes a triplet, of words that have different spellings and the same pronunciation. Homonyms marked with an asterisk (*) are in dispute (see the bottom of the page).

This page was last updated on September 29, 2018.

Air, Heir, 'Ere

Aisle, Isle, I'll

Allowed, Aloud

Altar, Alter

Ant, Aunt

Ate, Eight

Away, Aweigh

Bait, Bate

Bans, Banns

Bard, Barred

Base, Bass

Be, Bee

Beach, Beech

Bear, Bare

Bean, Been

Beat, Beet

Beer, Bier

Birth, Berth

Bite, Byte

Blue, Blew

Boll, Bowl

Bore, Boar

Bored, Board

Born, Borne

Bow, Bough

Bow, Beau

Boy, Buoy

Brews, Bruise

But, Butt

By, Bye, Buy

Cannon, Canon

Capital, Capitol

Carrot, Carat, Karat

Cause, Caws

Cell, Sell

Cellar, Seller

Censor, Censer, Sensor

Cent, Scent, Sent

Check, Cheque, Czech

Chews, Choose

Chilly, Chili, Chile

Choir, Quire

Clause, Claws

Click, Clique

Cocks, Cox

Colonel, Kernel

Conquer, Conker

Coral, Choral

Corral, Chorale

Council, Counsel

Councilor, Counselor

Crews, Cruise

Cygnet, Signet

Dam, Damn

Dessert, Desert

Die, Dye

Doe, Dough

Draft, Draught

Eerie, Ayrie

Eye, I, Aye

Faint, Feint

Fare, Fair

Feat, Feet

File, Phial

Filter, Philter

Finish, Finnish

Flour, Flower

Flow, Floe

Foaled, Fold

For, Fore, Four

Forth, Fourth

Foul, Fowl

Freeze, Frieze

Gait, Gate

Gale, Gael

Gambol, Gamble

Grease, Greece

Great, Grate

Hangar, Hanger

Hair, Hare

Herd, Heard

Here, Hear

Him, Hymn

Hoarse, Horse

Hole, Whole

Holed, Hold

Holy, Wholly

Hue, Hew

Idle, Idyll, Idol

In, Inn

Incite, Insight *

Key, Quay, Cay

Knit, Nit

Leased, Least

Light, Lite

Links, Lynx

Lo, Low

Locks, Lox

Made, Maid

Male, Mail

Main, Mane

Mantle, Mantel

Maze, Maize, Mays

Meet, Meat

Medal, Meddle

Metal, Mettle

Might, Mite

Miner, Minor

Missed, Mist

Mistle, Missile, Missal, Missel

Mode, Mowed

Mussel, Muscle

Naught, Nought

Naval, Navel

Need, Knead, Kneed

New, Knew, Gnu

Nice, Gneiss

Night, Knight

No, Know

Nose, Knows, Nos

Not, Knot

One, Won

Or, Ore, Oar

Pact, Packed

Pain, Pane

Palate, Palette, Pallet

Patience, Patients

Pea, Pee

Peak, Peek, Pique

Pear, Pare, Pair

Pedal, Peddle

Peer, Pier

Pie, Pi

Piece, Peace

Pistol, Pistil

Place, Plaice

Plain, Plane

Plural, Pleural

Pole, Poll

Pore, Pour, Poor

Practice, Practise

Pray, Prey

Principal, Principle

Prophet, Profit

Pyx, Picks

Rain, Reign, Rein

Raise, Rays, Raze

Read, Reed

Real, Reel

Red, Read

Rest, Wrest

Rex, Wrecks

Rhyme, Rime

Right, Rite, Wright, Write

Ring, Wring

Rode, Road, Rowed

Roe, Row

Rude, Rued

Rye, Wry

Sacks, Sax

Sale, Sail

See, Sea

Sees, Seas, Sieze

Seem, Seam

Seen, Scene

Sense, Scents

Sent, Scent

Shoes, Shoos

Sign, Sine

Sink, Synch

Site, Sight, Cite

Slay, Sleigh

Slight, Sleight

Sloe, Slow

So, Sow, Sew

Soared, Sword

Son, Sun

Sore, Soar

Soul, Sole

Sowed, Sewed

Sown, Sewn

Staid, Stayed

Straight, Strait

Stair, Stare

Stationary, Stationery

Steak, Stake

Steal, Steel

Sticks, Styx

Succour, Sucker

Surplus, Surplice

Swayed, Suede

Sweet, Suite

Symbol, Cymbal

Tacks, Tax

Tact, Tacked

Taut, Taught

Tea, Tee

Team, Teem

Tecnology, Technology

Tents, Tense

There, Their, They're

Throw, Throe

Tier, Tear

Tire, Tyre

To, Too, Two

Toll, Tole

Tolled, Told, Toled

Ton, Tonne, Tun

Tow, Toe

Vail, Vale, Veil

Vain, Vein, Vane

Vial, Vile

Wade, Weighed

Wait, Weight

Want, Wont

Ware, Wear, Where *

Waste, Waist

Wax, Whacks

Way, Weigh, Whey

We, Wee

Weak, Week

Weave, We’ve

Weather, Whether

Were, Whir

Wet, Whet

Whale, Wail

Whales, Wales, Wails

What, Watt

Wheel, Weal, We'll

While, Wile

Whine, Wine

Whirl, Whorl

Wit, Whit *

Witch, Which *

Wood, Would

Word, Whirred *

Yoke, Yolk

You, Ewe

You'll, Yule


Disputed Homonyms

A number of readers have emailed me to dispute the listing of a number of words in this list. As I explained to them, I take a very broad view of how words are pronounced in practice, not just how they should be pronounced according to the dictionary. Nonetheless, the following list will detail the listed homonyms which others dispute.

Incite, Insight

Wear, Where

Which, Witch

Whit, Wit

Word, Whirred


Homonyms or Homophones

Several People have contacted me to say these words are homophones, not homonyms. While I agree that homophone is a better description of two words that sound alike, the OED does list a secondary definition of homonyms as two words that sound the same. As it turns out, I use the word homonym because my grade one teacher, Miss Webb, used this term.

Do you know a homonym that's not here? See one here that you disagree with? Drop me a line.


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