List of commonly confused homonyms

From Academic Kids

This is a list of commonly confused homonyms including both homophones — words with the same pronunciation — and homographs — words with the same spelling.



Some words are not fully homophonous, and other are homophones only in certain dialects.

  • accept: tolerate
    except: everything but
  • allot: to distribute, allocate
    a lot: much; many (a lot of)
  • allusion: indirect reference
    elusion: evasion
    elution: separation by washing
    illusion: a distortion of sensory perception
  • bare: naked, exposed; very little (bare necessities)
    bear: as a noun, a large mammal (e.g. American Black Bear); as a verb, to carry something ("to bear arms"), to endure ("I can't bear it"), or to give birth to (bear fruit)
  • boy: a male adolescent or child; an exclamation "oh boy"
    buoy: (noun) a floating marker in the sea; (verb, often "buoy up") to keep afloat, to sustain or encourage (the soldiers were buoyed up by letters from home) (pronounced boy in the UK, but in the US is either homophonous with "boy" or pronounced with two syllables to rhyme with "chewy")
    bhoy: a house servant for families in India (borrowed from the English word "boy")
  • bow: (rhymes with 'cow'): The front section of a ship or boat; a gesture made by bending forward at the waist
    bough: (rhymes with 'cow') A tree branch, especially a large or main branch.
    bow: (rhymes with 'go'): A weapon made of a curved stick whose ends are connected by a string, used for shooting arrows; a type of knot with two loops
  • bridal: pertaining to a bride (bridal gown, bridal suite)
    bridle: (noun) part of a horse's tack around its neck and head; (verb) to appear offended or proud
  • carry: to move while supporting
    Carrie: a woman's name, pet form of Caroline, French feminine form of Carolus, Charles, from the Germanic name Karl, which was derived from a Germanic word which meant "man". Also, name of first published Stephen King novel.
    Kerry: a surname, from the name of the Irish county County Kerry, which means "Ciar's people" in Gaelic. Also, surname of John Kerry, 2004 American Democratic presidential candidate.
  • caught: past tense of "catch"
    cot: a small, collapsible bed
  • chord: group of musical notes; anything that can be "struck" (It struck a sensitive chord)
    cord: rope; long electrical line; vertebral column
    cored: having the inside cut out, like an apple
    cawed: past tense of "to caw" - to make a raucous noise
  • choux (pronounced as shoe): plural of chou, as used in choux pastry
    shoe: footwear
    shoo: exclamation used for scaring things away
  • content: noun. something contained in a package
    content: noun. or adj. satisfied, happy
  • compliment: a praising or flattering remark given to someone; to give such a remark
    complement: something that completes something else; to complete (something)
  • discreet: means tactful or diplomatic
    discrete: means separate or distinct
  • do: conduct or carry out something
    do (to rhyme with doe) / doh: the first note of the solfege scale
    doe: a female deer; also female of various other species (by extension)
    d'oh!: an annoyed grunt
    dough: a moistened mass of flour used to make bread; slang term for money
  • effect: ramification: cause and effect; sound effect (as a noun); bring about (effect change) (as a verb)
    affect: have an effect on; pretentiously display (affect a British accent); emotion (in psychology and psychiatry).
  • fa / fah: the fourth note of the solfege scale
    far: distant (In non-rhotic dialects, these are homonyms.)
  • fairy: imaginary small person with special powers (often homophonous with "ferry" in the US)
    ferry: boat for carrying people or vehicles short distances on water
  • faze: to temporarily stop or shock (It didn't even faze them)
    phase: a stage through which one goes
  • flaw: defect (homonymous with floor in non-rhotic dialects)
    floor: a level; lower surface of a room; the area of a legilsative building members speak from, so "to take/hold the floor"; to knock to the ground; to confound someone
    flor: a yeasty growth that forms on sherry after fermentation.
  • formerly
    formally (These are not homonyms to most speakers of English, but are homonyms in some non-rhotic dialects, including "Received Pronunciation".)
  • gnaw: to bite or chew on persistently
    nor: negates the last member of a series of negated items
  • hair: an outgrowth of the epidermis in mammals (e.g. human facial hair); similar structures on plants
    hare: (noun) a swift, long-eared mammal which, along with rabbits, forms the family Leporidae; (verb) to dash or sprint ("I hared around the kitchen")
    Herr: the title meaning "Mr." for a man from Germany or Austria
  • here: this place (opposed to there)
    hear: sense with the ears; also in the phrase "Hear! Hear!" for strong agreement
  • high: opposite of low; elevated, far above the ground; under the influence of drugs
    hi: a greeting; shortened from "high" as part of hi-fi or el-hi
    hie: to speed or hurry somewhere, "hie thee to France"
    hi or heigh: part of the phrase "hi-ho" in the song "Hi Ho Silver Lining", or "heigh-ho" in the movie lyric "heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work we go"
    jai: as in jai alai
  • hoard: to accumulate and store up as much of something as one can
    horde: large group of warriors, mob
    hoared: old, mouldy, fusty
    whored: past tense of "to whore" - to act as a prostitute
    hawed: past tense of haw - equivocate
  • imminent
    imanent (Some speakers (perhaps 10%) of USA-English also pronounce eminent like these two.)
  • its: belonging to it (analogous to my, your, his, her, our, their)
    it's: contraction for "it is" (analogous to I'm, you're, he's, she's, we're, they're) or "it has" (analogous to I've, you've, he's, she's, we've, they've)
  • key: instrument used to open locks; a guide to symbols, especially on maps; the essential element "the key to his success"; a range of musical notes "try it in a lower key"; a button or lever on piano or computer keyboards
    key: a low island or sandbank, the Florida Keys
    quay: pronounced as key in the UK, as key, kay or kway in the US; a wharf, a structure built out into water for the ease of loading and unloading vessels
    cay: a West Indian word for an island, as in the novel The Cay
    ki: another name for the Hawai'ian plant ti
  • lam: US slang: "on the lam" means "on the run"
    lamb: a young sheep
  • law: legal rule
    lore: old story often not written down
    la: the sixth note of the solfege scale
  • lead: pronounced to rhyme with "seed", to guide or serve as the head of
    lead: pronounced to rhyme with "head", a heavy metal
    led: the past tense of "lead"
    leed: a copper kettle; a cauldron
  • lede: the opening in a piece of journalist's copy (also spelled "lead")
  • lock: a mechanical device for securing doors or canals; also the act of using such a device (verb); a tuft of human hair
    Lok: alternative name for Loki, the Norse god of mischief
    Locke: the surname of early liberal philosopher John Locke
  • marry: to wed
    merry: happy
    Mary: a woman's name, from Maria, probably a variation of the Hebrew name Miriam, meaning "sea of bitterness"
  • medal: an award to be strung around the neck
    meddle: stick one's nose into others' affairs
    metal: shiny, malleable element or alloy like silver, gold, iron, zinc, tin, copper, bronze or brass
    mettle: toughness, guts
    Note that the first two of these are only homonyms of the second two in North American English.
  • morning: the time between midnight and midday
    mourning: period of grieving after the death of a relative, friend or public figure, clothing worn at this time (e.g. mourning dove)
  • past: time before now (past, present and future); beyond; after the hour (three past nine = 9:03); former (in her past life)
    passed: past tense of "to pass"
  • parse: to break down into component parts (e.g. for analysis)
    pars: the acts of scoring a par in golf; also plural of "par"
    parrs: plural of "parr" - a young salmonid fish
  • piece: portion
    peace: opposite of war; quietness (peace of mind) or silence (speak now or forever keep your peace)
  • peak: tip, height, to reach its highest point, a mountain
    peek: to take a brief look, usually through a thin aperture (sneak peek)
    pique: fit of anger; to incite (pique one's interest)
  • paw: a mammal's foot
    poor: impoverished; also, to be pitied (Poor Peter!), also bad (poor quality)
    pore: a hole in the skin; to go over with great focus (pore over)
    pour: to run out (said of liquid); to rain heavily
    pa: short for papa
    par: common level; equality
  • principal: can be a noun or an adjective, a person of primary importance
    principle: a noun: it cannot be an adjective, a fundamental rule or law
  • rack: a long, open container with a rectangular frame (spice rack); one's upper body; to torture (verb) or an instrument of torture (noun)
    wrack: to destroy, a shipwreck, commonly found in the phrase "to go to wrack and ruin"
    Note: In British English, only the first spelling should be used in the phrase "to rack one's brains"; in American English the second spelling is also acceptable in this context; the meaning of "rack" in this phrase is related to the rack as an instrument of torture
  • rain: water falling from the sky
    reign: to rule; hold the position as monarch
    rein: the strip used to control a horse; anything that restrains; to restrain anything by pulling in its irrational exuberance (pull the reins in on)
    Rayne: a city in Louisiana
  • ray: a beam of light
    ray: a type of fish
    ray / re: the second note of the solfege scale
    re: with reference to
    Re / Ra(h): an Egyptian god.
    rah: a short form of "hurrah"
  • reek: to stink
    wreak: to bring about (wreak havoc)
    reak: a rush (plant), or a prank
  • rest: sit down without doing anything active; the remainder
    wrest: to struggle to extricate something (wrest it out of his hands)
  • retch: to vomit
    wretch: a person in a miserable condition; a person of bad character
  • right: the direction opposite to left; correct; something a person must have his/her choice to do respected (the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness); straight or directly (went right to his heart)
    write: to put down in letters; send a letter to (Write me soon!)
    rite: ritual, ceremony (rites of passage)
    wright: connected with other words to mean someone who constructs (playwright, scenewright, wheelwright)
  • ring: piece of jewelry; make a sound like a bell or telephone, or tinnitus in the ears; anything shaped like a circle or torus (like the rings in a bathtub); sound familiarly like (that rings of fascism)
    wring: strangle (wring his neck), squeeze and twist (wring the water out of laundry)
  • row (rhymes with "go"): to pull a boat through the water with oars
    row (rhymes with "cow"): a fuss or a fight
    roe: fish eggs (such as caviar); a deer (the roebuck)
    Roe: pseudonym used in court cases for women having or seeking abortions (most famously in Roe v. Wade)
    rho: letter of the Greek alphabet equivalent to R
    Ro: a constructed language based on categorization
  • seem: appear to
    seam: a join; a line of stitches that holds two pieces together
  • shear: trim, remove; strain
    sheer: absolute, very steep; swerve
  • sight: vision
    site: place, grounds; place in cyberspace
    cite: quote or make a reference to; write a ticket
  • so: likewise; therefore; to such a degree
    so or soh: the fifth note of the solfege scale
    sow (pronounced as so): to scatter seeds
    sew (pronounced as so): join together or stitch
    sew (pronounced as sue): to drain (as the root of sewage)
    Sioux (pronounced as sue): Native American tribe
    sou (pronounced as sue): a French five-centime coin; any small amount of money
    sous (pronounced as sue): French for under, as in sous-chef - a subordinate chef
    sue: to prosecute or petition for
    xu (pronounced as sue): a Vietnamese monetary unit, 1/100 of a dong
    sow (to rhyme with cow): a female pig
  • some: a few
    sum: what you get when you add numbers; short for summarize (sum up)
  • tail: appendage of most mammals
    tale: a story
  • tea: a tree and the drink produced from its leaves
    tee: a support for the ball in golf
    ti / te: the seventh note of the solfege scale
    ti: a Polynesian tree similar to the taro
  • tear (rhymes with fear): a drop of fluid which falls from the eyes when weeping or crying
    tear (rhymes with fare): rip; to run extremely fast, jolt, bolt, dart
    tare: dry measure of grains; payment in wheat; adjustment to a weighing device
    tier: layer or level
  • their: belonging to them
    there: that place (opposed to here); denotes existence of something
    they're: contraction for "they are"
  • theirs: belonging to them
    there's: contraction for "there is" or "there has"
  • therefore: thus, ergo (I think therefore I am)
    therefor: for the aforementioned thing or purpose; for that (similar to thereof, thereby, therefrom, thereagainst, etc.)
  • to: towards or headed for; in order to; used before the infinitive of verbs
    too: also; excessively
    two: the number 2
    tui: the parson bird
    tout: French word meaning "all", as in mange-tout
  • vary: make a change in; undergo change
    very: adverbial intensifier
  • weather: the meteorological conditions; to survive some wear and tear
    whether: if something is so or not
    wether: a male sheep (The bellwether was the ram who led the herd, and carried a bell around his neck to signal the front of the herd coming.)
  • wet: to dampen; damp
    whet: to sharpen (a knife, one's appetite)
  • which
  • whose: belonging to whom
    who's: contraction for "who is" or "who has"
  • your: belonging to you (analogous to my, his, her, its, our, their)
    you're: contraction for "you are" (analogous to I'm, he's, she's, it's, we're, they're)
    yore: time long ago, a bygone age ("the days of yore")
  • yaw: swerve (usually of a ship or a spacecraft)


  • anna: give!
    Anna: a girl's name
  • hanki: snowdirt
    hanki: get!
  • hauista: from searches
    hauista: muscle
    hauista: from pikes
  • huopaa: felt, blanket
    huopaa: back the oars!
  • kadun: I regret
    kadun: of a street
  • kuusi: six
    kuusi: fir-tree
    kuusi: your moon
  • laita: edge
    laita: arrange!, put!
  • lakka: varnish
    lakka: cloudberry
    lakka: pigeon house
  • norja: willowy
    Norja: Norway
  • palaa: burn
    palaa: (he) comes back
  • pala: piece
    pala: burn!
  • panna: put
    panna: excommunication
  • pitää: hold
    pitää: like
    pitää: need to
  • puola: bobbin, coil
    puola: the Polish language
    Puola: Poland
  • satu: fairy tale
    satu: hurt!
    Satu: a girl's name
  • suo: swamp
    suo: (he) grants
  • turkki: fur, fur coat
    Turkki: Turkey
  • vaara: danger
    vaara: hill
  • voi: butter
    voi: (he) can/could, (he) is/was able to
    voi: oh
  • vuori: mountain
    vuori: lining

There are some sentences made up by homonyms:

  • Haetaan lakkaa satamasta, kun lakkaa satamasta. (Let's get varnish from the harbour, when it stops to rain.)
  • Mikä on Annankadun vastakohta? -En anna enkä kadu. (What is the opposite of Anna Street? -I don't give nor regret.)
  • Voi äiti, joulukuusi palaa! (Oh mother, christmas tree is burning! / Butter mother, christmas six is coming back!) (Usually told in Swedish: Smör mamma, julsexen kommer tillbaka!)


  • bar: bar (saloon)
    bar: bass (fish)


  • 萩村 - Hagimura, a person's name
  • 荻村 - Ogimura, a person's name


  • брак (brak): marriage
    брак (brak): spoilage, defect
  • есть (yest'): there is/there are; am/is/are
    есть (yest'): to eat
  • ключ (klyuch): key
    ключ (klyuch): spring (source of water), source
  • коса (kosa): plait (referring to hair)
    коса (kosa): scythe
    коса (kosa): spit (landform)
  • лук (luk): onion
    лук (luk): bow (weapon)
  • мир (mir): peace
    мир (mir): world
  • пол (pol): floor (lower surface of a room)
    пол (pol): sex (male or female)
    пол- (pol-): prefix meaning "a half of"
  • соль (sol'): salt
    соль (sol'): G (note)

See also

External links


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools