Words ... | Spelled SAME | Sound DIFFERENT | Meaning DIFFERENT |

All the words in this list are Public Domain. The design of this presentation is copyright 2006 by Wayne Hepburn. Use and distribution of this file is permitted for nonprofit purposes only. Brief definitions are given solely to aid in understanding the pronunciation of familiar words which may have more than one meaning and/or pronunciation.

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Heteronyms come primarily in sets of two, sometimes more than two words, which are spelled alike but have significantly different sounds and meanings. An attempt has been made to illustrate the sounds using sound visual aids which are shown as spellings that imitate or mimic the sound.

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Last Updated: 2011 02 10

word sound Def


barre bar n. handrail used for ballet practice
barre bah - ray n. pattern of stripes in fabric

bass bass n. kind of fish
bass base n. type of musical instrument
bass base adj. in the lower frequencies sound range

bow boe n. weapon used with arrows
bow boe n. type of knot, often decorative
bow boe n. implement for use with stringed instrument
bow boe v. bend
bow bough n. / v. bend at waist
bow bow n. sound imitating barking dog - 'bow wow'


coax cokes urge, draw toward, persuade
coax ko-AX coaxial, mostly video cables

close clo-Zzz opposite of open; shut
close CLOE-ss opposite of far; near

compress cum-PRESS squeeze
compress COMM-press a bandage

compresses cum-PRESSes squeezes
compresses COMM-presses bandages

conduct CONN-dukt behavior
conduct cunn-DUKT carry, as in electrical conductor

contract CONN-tract agreement
contract cun-TRACT catch as in a disease

contracted CONN-tracted agreed
contracted cun-TRACTed caught, got

contracting CONN-tracting entering agreement
contracting cun-TRACTing catching, getting

contracts CONN-tracts agreements
contracts cun-TRACTs catches, gets


dam damn or am holds back water
dam dahm female parent of dog or horse

desert[s] dezz-ert [s] arid land area, sometimes devoid of vegetation. Sahara
desert[s] dee-ZERT [s] v. abandon, leave duty post

do doo act or perform
do doe note on music scale - "Do, re, mi, fa, etc"

does duzz v. do - "he does his best"
does doze more than one female deer

dove like love bird
dove like stove p.t. verb: dive


entrance EN trunce n. entryway; v. appear on stage, etc.
entrance en TRANce v. hypnotize or place in trance state


grease greeSS heavy or highly viscous lubricant
grease greeZ lubricate with grease


house how ss abode, dwelling, residential home
house howZ billet, quarter, provide with housing


intimate[s] INTI mut having close relationship
intimate[s] inti MATE implies, indicates

invalid IN vuh LID incapacitated person
invalid in VAL id not valid


kinder rhymes 'cinder' children
kinder kYnder more kind or kindly, generous


lead leed bring along
lead ledd heavy metal chemical element

live liv occupy; abide in a place
live lye-v opposite of dead


moderate MODD-uh-rut in addition to
moderate modd-er-ATE social rule or folkway

moped mope duh sulked, acted depressed
moped MOE-pedd motorized bicycle

more moor additional amount or intensity
more moor-ray social rule or folkway


object[s] OBB jekts things
object[s] ubb JEKT oppose; take exception to


present [s] PREZZ ent gift
present [s] pree ZENT display, offer, award, introduce

produce pro DUSE make happen, arrange
produce PROE duse fruits and vegetables


read reed interpret written words - read a book
read redd past tense 'read'

refuse ree-FUZE deny
refuse REFF-use waste, trash, garbage

row roe row a boat with oars
row row like in growl have a row, fight, quarrel


sewer so-err one who sews
sewer sue-err drainage system

sow[s] like doze, nose plant seeds
sow[s] like how, cow female pig

subject[s] SUB jekt topic
subject[s] sub JEKT compel


tear teer drop of eye fluid
tear tare rip

tower tau-wer building, or antenna
tower toe-er one who/which tows something


use yooss purpose
use yooze employ


wind whine d turn; wind a watch or toy
wind wynnd moving air; the wind blows whither it will

wound WOOnd result of injury
wound WOWnd coiled, wrapped around

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