A homonym (/hɒmənɪm/) is a word which has the same spelling and is pronounced exactly like another word, but with a different meaning (as the bow of a ship and the verb to bow). All homonyms are homophones.
True homonyms are unrelated words, such as the two meanins of bow. Polysemes are related homonyms, such as vegetable wich can mean edible part of a plant that is not sweet, or any plant.
Some common examples
- arm (body part and gun); bank (financial services and side of a river); beam (light and long piece of wood that supports a roof); bear (n. animal and v. accept); bend; bow; cast; duck; last; quail (verb and noun); row;
- badger (v. pester, bother, and n. animal); bonnet; bottom; compass; cricket (insect and sport); dribble; fencing; hamper; lower (adj. and v.); mummy (mother and corpse); present (gift and now); stranger; swallow;
- Homonym jokes