List of English Homophones

AUTHORS/CONTRIBUTORS

   Phillip M. Feldman
   Bard C. Cosman
   Nathaniel ("Ned") Feldman
   Armando Quiros  ז"ל

Last update 27 Feb., 2017

1. Introduction

Homophones are words having identical or at least similar pronunciations, but different meanings. Many homophones have arisen because of sound change or sound drift, i.e., the pronunciations were originally different, but one or both have gradually changed over time. Examples include (bad, bade) and (fate, fete). Other homophones have arisen because one or both of the words have been imported from a foreign language. (Sound change may also be a factor here). An example is (chanty, shanty); chanty is probably an alteration of the French chanter ("to sing"), while shanty is an adaptation of the Canadian French chantier ("cabin").

2. Ground Rules

  1. In the compilation of this collection, we've tended to limit ourselves to words and pronunciations that are used widely throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, or both. In most cases, words and pronunciations that are peculiar to English speakers in other countries, or specific to regions of the U.S. or U.K., are excluded.

  2. Informal, colloquial, and archaic words and pronunciations are excluded. We also exclude "emerging" pronunciations that are not yet considered standard. For example, in the audio book The Story of Human Language by Prof. John McWhorter, the author mentions that one can increasingly hear the word law pronounced like la, which would make these words homophones if we accepted this pronunciation as standard.

  3. Homophonous words must have different meanings; two variant spellings of the same word—even when one form has additional meanings— cannot be considered homophones. (An example of this is e.g., gang and gangue).

  4. dictionary.com is the primary reference for determining what spellings and pronunciations are standard. For purposes of deciding whether a word is slang/informal or colloquial, however, I use both dictionary.com and merriam-webster.com. When these two sources disagree, the more liberal one prevails.

3. Notes

  1. A tilde (~) at the beginning of the line indicates a pseudo-homophone: Either the pronunciation is not exactly the same because of differences in stress or a slight difference in the vowel sound, or one of the words is a proper pronoun. (If the consonants are different, as between swelter and svelter, then even the pseudo-homophone designation does not apply).

  2. In abbess, the stress is on the first syllable, while in abyss, it is on the second.

  3. Acher, although not in any of the online dictionaries, is understandable as one who aches and a reasonable derivative of ache.

  4. dictionary.com lists two pronunciations for acetic; the second of these, which has a short 'e' sound, is homophonous with ascetic.

  5. dictionary.com lists two pronunciations for demesne; the second of these is homophonous with demean.

  6. As per Dr. Cosman, the words parcours (athletic course) and parkour (obstacle sport) are two versions of the same French word, brought into English at different times. As with the word group cancer, chancre, and canker, the meanings are related but distinct. Unlike the three words derived from a root meaning crab, parcours and parkour are homophonous.

  7. Dr. Cosman notes that some speakers prononounce the h in words such as when, whir, and whirry, but this is no longer common in the United States.

  8. 'tth' means 'item number t' (of a series of items).

  9. dictionary.com lists two pronunciations for with; the first of these has a soft th, and is thus homophonous with width.

  10. There are two pronunciations of whisht, one of which is homophonous with wished.

  11. dictionary.com lists gey as "Scottish" and wud as "chiefly Scottish".

4. List of Homophones

a, uh
~ a la, Allah
~ abbess, abyss
accept, except
acclamation, acclimation
acetic, ascetic
acclamation, acclimation
acher, acre
acholic, acolic
acquiesce, aqueous
ad, add
adds, ads, adz, adze
adherence, adherents
admiscible, admissible
aerial, areal
aerie, airy, eerie
afterward, afterword
agami, agamy
ail, ale
air, aire, ere, err, eyre, heir
aisle, I'll, isle
all, awl
allowed, aloud
all together, altogether
all ways, always
also, all so
altar, alter
analyst, annalist
anchorite, ankerite
androgenous, androgynous
ant, aunt
ante, anti, auntie
apatite, appetite
appose, oppose
arc, ark
areole, aureole, oriole
ascent, assent
asperate, aspirate
ate, eight
auger, augur
aught, ought
aura, ora
aural, oral
auricle, oracle
autarchy, autarky
away, aweigh
awful, offal
aye, eye, I

bad, bade
baht, bot (or bott)
bail, bale
bailey, bailie
bait, bate
baize, bays, beys
~ balm, bomb
band, banned
banns, bans
bard, barred
bare, bear
baron, barren
~ baroque, broke
basal, basil
based, baste
bass, base
baud, bawd
bay, bey
be, bee
beach, beech
bearing, baring
beastie, bhisti
beat, beet
beau, bow
been, bin
beer, bier
bell, belle
~ berets, brays, braze
berry, bury
berth, birth
better, bettor
bhoy, boy, buoy
bib, bibb
bight, bite, byte
billed, build
bird, burred
birr, burr
bit, bitt
blew, blue
bloc, block
boar, bore
board, bored
boarder, border
bode, bowed
bogey, bogie, bogy
bold, bolled, bowled
bolder, boulder
bole, boll, bowl
bonds, bonze
born, borne, bourn
borough, burrow
bough, bow
bouillon, bullion
brae, bray
braise, brays, braze
braid, brayed
brain, brane
brake, break
brays, braze
breach, breech
bread, bred
~ breath, breadth
brewed, brood
brews, bruise
bridal, bridle
brilliance, brilliants
broach, brooch
bruit, brute
burger, burgher
burley, burly
bury, burry
bus, buss
bust, bussed
but, butt
by, buy, bye
byre, buyer

cache, cash
call, caul
callous, callus
cannon, canon
~ Candide, candied
cant, can't
canter, cantor
canvas, canvass
capital, capitol
carat, caret, carrot
carpal, carpel
~ carrion, carryon
cart, carte
cask, casque
cast, caste
caster, castor
caudal, caudle
cause, caws
cay, key, quay
cedar, ceder, seeder
cede, seed
ceded, seeded
ceiling, sealing, seeling
cell, sell
cellar, seller
cense, cents, scents, sense
censer, censor
cent, scent, sent
cere, sear, seer, sere
cereal, serial
cession, session
champagne, champaign
chantey, shanty
chased, chaste
cheap, cheep
chews, choose
chili, chilly
choir, quire
choler, coaler
choler, collar
cholic, colic, colick
choral, coral
chronical, chronicle
chute, shoot
cite, sight, site
clack, claque
clammer, clamor
classed, clast
clause, claws
cleek, clique
cleft, klepht
clew, clue
click, clique
climb, clime
close, clothes
clouder, clowder
clue, clew
coal, cole
coarse, corse, course
coat, cote
coax, cokes
coddling, codling
coffer, cougher
coiffeur, quaffer
coin, quoin
colation, collation
colonel, kernel
~ comet, commit
~ comity, committee
~ commence, comments
complacence, complaisance
complacent, complaisant
complement, compliment
con, khan
~ concord, conquered
confluence, confluents
consonance, consonants
continence, continents
coo, coup
coolie, coolly
cops, copse
cord, cored, chord
core, corps
correspondence, correspondents
council, counsel
~ courtesy, curtsey
cousin, cozen
coward, cowered
coy, koi
crater, krater
crawl, kraal
creak, creek
crew, cru
crewed, crude
crewel, cruel
crews, cruise, crus, cruse
cubit, qubit
cue, queue
coom, cum, cwm
cur, ker
~ curate, curette (or curet)
currant, current
currier, courier
curser, cursor
cygnet, signet
cymbal, symbol
cysteine, cystine, Sistine

dam, damn
~ daughter, dotter
day, dey
days, daze, deys
dear, deer
deasil, diesel
decade, decayed
~ defuse, diffuse
deign, Dane
demean, demesne
dense, dents
dentel, dentil
dependence, dependents
derailer, derailleur
descent, dissent
desert, dessert
devisor, divisor
dew, do, due
dewar, doer
dhole, dole
dhow, dow
dhows, dowse
dial, diel
diarrhetic, dieretic, diuretic
die, dye
~ dinar, dinner
dine, dyne
dire, dyer
disc, disk
~ disburse, disperse
discreet, discrete
disease, dizzies
dissidence, dissidents
~ distal, distil
~ divers, diverse
doe, dough
done, dun
dost, dust
doubt, dought
drachm, dram
draft, draught
draftee, draughty
djin, gin, jinn
droop, drupe
dual, duel
ducked, duct

ear, ere
earing, earring
earn, erne, urn
eau, oh, owe
eave, eve
~ elicit, illicit
elision, elysian
elusion, illusion
encyst, insist
entrance, entrants
epic, epoch
erred, 'eard
ewe, yew, you
eye, aye, I
eyelet, islet

facial, fascial
fain, fane, feign
faint, feint
fair, fare
fairing, faring
~ fairy, ferry
faker, fakir (or faquir)
~ farcy, Farsi
faro, farrow, Pharoah
fate, fete
father, fother
faun, fawn
fay, fey
faze, phase
feat, fete, feet
fellow, felloe
felt, veldt
feted, fetid
figurate, figure eight
filar, filer
file, phial
filter, philtre
find, fined
fir, fur
fisher, fissure
fizz, phiz
flack, flak
flair, flare
flay, fley
flea, flee
fleche, flesh
flecks, flex
flew, flu, flue
flicks, flix
flier, flyer
flo, floe, flow
floc, flock
flocks, flocs, phlox
flour, flower
foaled, fold
for, fore, four
forbear, forebear
foreword, forward
fort, forte
forth, fourth
foul, fowl
franc, frank, Frank
fraise, frays, phrase
frees, freeze, frieze
friar, fryer
fro, frow
froes, froze
fugal, fugle
führer, furor
fungous, fungus
furs, furze
fuse, fuze

gaff, gaffe
gage, gauge
gaol, jail
gait, gate
gamble, gambol
gassed, gast
gat, ghat
gel, jell
gene, jean
gest, jest
ghoul, gul
~ ghoulish, goulash
gibber, jibber
gild, gilled, guild
gilder, guilder
gilt, guilt
gimel, gimmal
gnu, knew, new, nu
gnus, news
gored, gourd
gorilla, guerilla
grade, grayed
graft, graphed
grate, great
grater, greater
grays, graze
~ grease, Greece
grill, grille
grip, grippe
grisly, grizzly
groan, grown
grocer, grosser
guessed, guest
guide, guyed
guise, guys
gul, gull

hail, hale
hair, hare
hairier, harrier
hairy, harry
hall, haul
handsome, hansom
hangar, hanger
hart, heart
hay, hey, heigh
hays, haze
heal, heel, he'll
heard, herd
he'd, heed
height, hight
heroin, heroine
hi, hie, high
heir, air, e'er
here, hear
hew, hue
hide, hied
higher, hire
him, hymn
hissed, hist
ho, hoe
hoar, whore
hoard, horde, whored
hoarse, horse
hoes, hose
hold, holed
hole, whole
holey, holy, wholly
hollo, hollow
homonymous, homonomous
hoop, whoop
hostel, hostile
hour, our
humerus, humorous
~ hungry, Hungary

idle, idol, idyl, idyll
ileal, ilial
ileum, ilium, Ilium
immanent, imminent
impassable, impassible
in, inn
incidence, incidents
indict, indite
indigence, indigents
innocence, innocents
incense, insense
incite, insight
instance, instants
intense, intents
intercession, intersession
intern, inturn
invade, inveighed
it's, its

jam, jamb
jewel, joule

kaki, khaki
kern, kirn
knap, nap
knave, nave
knead, kneed, need
knight, night
knit, nit
knot, not
know, no
knows, noes, nose

lacks, lax
lade, laid
lager, logger
lain, lane
lam, lamb
lama, llama
laps, lapse
lase, lays, laze, leis
lattice, latus
lay, lei
lea, lee, li
leach, leech
lead, led
leaf, lief
leak, leek
lean, lien
leas, lees
leased, least
lends, lens
lessen, lesson
lesser, lessor
levee, levy
lever, levir
leveret, levirate
liar, lier, lyre
lichen, liken
licker, liquor
lickerish, liquorice, liquorish
lie, lye
~ lightning, lightening
limb, limn
linch, lynch
links, lynx
~ lionize, lyin' eyes
lite, light
literal, littoral
lo, low
load, lode, lowed
loan, lone
loch, lock
locks, lox
loon, lune
loot, lute
lorry, lory, Lorie
lumbar, lumber

made, maid
magnate, magnet
mail, male
main, mane
maize, maze
mall, maul, moll
mandrel, mandrill
mangel, mangle
manner, manor
mantel, mantle
marang, meringue
maar, mar
mare, mayor
marshal, martial
marten, martin
massed, mast
mead, meed
mean, mien
meat, meet, mete
medal, meddle
meddler, medlar
metal, mettle
mewl, mule
mews, mus, muse
meiosis, miosis
meeter, meter (or metre)
might, mite
mignonette, minionette
mil, mill
millenary, millinery
mince, mints
mind, mined
miner, minor
minks, minx
miscible, missable
missal, missile
missed, mist
missel, missile
moan, mown
moat, mote
mode, mowed
moo, mu
mood, mooed
moos, mus
moose, mousse
moraine, murrain
mordant, mordent
morn, mourn
morning, mourning
~ mosaic, Mosaic
mucous, mucus
muscle, mussel
~ muscleman, Mussulman
mustard, mustered

nap, nappe
naval, navel
nay, nee, neigh
necklace, neckless
news, nus
none, nun
nudest, nudist

oar, or, ore, o'er
ode, owed
oleo, olio
one, won
ordinance, ordnance
outcast, outcaste
overdo, overdue
overseas, oversees

paced, paste
packed, pact
packs, pax
paean, peon
pail, pale
pain, pane
pair, pare, pear
palate, palette, pallet, pallette
pan, panne
parcours, parkour
~ parlay, parley
passed, past
patience, patients
pax, pocks, pox
pause, paws
peace, piece
peak, peek, pique
peal, peel
pearl, purl
pedal, peddle
peer, pier
pencel, pencil
pend, penned
per, purr
~ personal, personnel
pervade, purveyed
petrel, petrol
philogyny, phylogeny
~ Phyrric, pyric
pi, pie, pye
pica, pika
picks, pyx
pidgin, pigeon
~ pinnacle, pinochle
pistil, pistol
place, plaice
plain, plane
plainsman, planesman
plate, plait
pleb, plebe
pleas, please
pliers, plyers
plots, plotz
plum, plumb
pleural, plural
polar, poler
poll, pole
popery, potpourri
populace, populous
pore, pour
pray, prey
prays, praise, preys
presence, presents
pride, pried
prier, prior
pries, prize
prince, prints
principal, principle
prophecy, prophesy
profit, prophet
pros, prose
~ protein, protean
psalter, salter
pupal, pupil
purest, purist
putts, putz
putty, putti, puttee

quarts, quartz
quean, queen
~ quiet, quite

rabbet, rabbit
rack, wrack
racket, raquet, raquette
raid, rayed
rain, reign, rein
raise, rays, raze
raiser, razor
rancor (or rancour), ranker
rap, wrap
rapped, rapt, wrapped
ray, re
read, rede, reed
read, red
~ readout, redoubt
real, reel
recalcitrance, recalcitrants
recede, reseed
receipt, reseat
reck, wreck
reek, wreak
refind, refined
~ rented/wrentit
~ repel, rappel
residence, residents
resister, resistor
rest, wrest
retch, wretch
review, revue
rheum, room
rho, roe, row
rhos, roes, rose, rows
rhyme, rime
rigger, rigor (or rigour)
right, rite, wright, write
ring, wring
road, rode, rowed
roc, rock
roe, row
roil, royal
role, roll
rood, rude, rued
root, route
rosary, rosery
rote, wrote
rough, ruff
rouse, rows
rout, route
rom, rhumb
rues, ruse
rung, wrung
~ rushin', Russian
rye, wry

sabal, sable
sac, sack
sachet, sashay
sail, sale
sailer, sailor
sane, seine
sari, sorry
saver, savor
scaup, scop
~ scenery, senary
scene, seen
scull, skull
seam, seem
seamen, semen
seas, sees, seize
senate, sennet
sequence, sequents
serf, surf
seraph, serif
serge, surge
settler, settlor
sew, so, sow
sewer, suer
sexed, sext
shake, sheik (or sheikh)
shear, sheer
shier, shire, shyer
shoe, shoo
shone, shown
sic, sick, Sikh
side, sighed
sigher, sire
sighs, size
sign, sine, syne
slate, sleight
slay, sleigh
sleight, slight
slew, slough, slue
sloe, slow
soar, sore
soared, sword
socks, sox
sol, sole, soul
soled, sold
some, sum
son, sun
sou, sue
~ spatial, special
spice, speiss
squaller, squalor
staid, stayed
stair, stare
stake, steak
stationary, stationery
steal, steel
steer, stere
steely, stele
step, steppe
stichtite, sticktight
stile, style
stoop, stupe
straight, strait
subtler, sutler
succor (or succour), sucker
suede, swayed
suer, sewer
summary, summery
~ Sunday, sundae
suite, sweet
~ surplice, surplus

tacked, tact
tacks, tax
tail, taille, tale
taper, tapir
tare, tear
taro, tarot
tarrier, terrier
tartar, tarter, tartare
taught, taut
taupe, tope
tea, tee
team, teem
tear, tier
teas, tease, tees
teeth, tth
tense, tents
~ tenser, tensor
tern, turn
testees, testes
teeter, titer
their, there, they're
therefor, therefore
threw, through
throe, throw
throne, thrown
thyme, time
tic, tick
ticcer, ticker
tide, tied
timber, timbre
to, too, two
toad, toed, towed
tocsin, toxin
toe, tow
told, tolled
ton, tun
tongue, tung
tool, tulle
tooter, tutor
tracked, tract
transeunt, transient
tray, trey
troop, troupe
trussed, trust
trustee, trusty

undo, undue
~ urine, yearn, yourn

vail, vale, veil
vain, vane, vein
vary, very
valance, valence
vellum, velum
versed, verst
vial, vile
~ vial, vile, viol
vice, vise
villae, villi
~ villas, villus
villain, villein, villin
villous, villus

wade, weighed
wail, wale, whale
wain, wane
waist, waste
wait, weight
waive, wave
waiver, waver
wale, whale
walk, wok
want, wont
wanton, wonton
war, wore
ward, warred
ware, wear
warn, worn
wacke, wacky
wax, whacks
way, weigh
we, wee, whee
weak, week
weakened, weekend
weal, we'll, wheel
weald, wheeled, wield
weather, wether, whether
weave, we've
we'd, weed
weld, welled
wen, when
we're, weir
were, whir
wet, whet
which, witch
~ Whig, wig
whiled, wild, wiled
while, wile
whined, wind, wined
whirl, whorl
whirled, whorled, world
whirred, word
whirry, worry
whish, wish
whisht, wished
whist, wist
whit, wit
white, wight, wite
whither, wither
whoa, woe
whose, who's
width, with
wind, wynd
wolfish, wolffish
wood, would
worst, wurst
wreak, reek

yay, yea
yoke, yolk
yore, your, you're
~ you'll, Yule