Find the word definition

Crossword clues for homonym

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Ensure that synonyms and homonyms are recognised.
▪ If the homonyms are the same part of speech, they are distinguished by superior numbers following the part-of-speech label.
▪ Some lexical sets are also included, such as homographs and homonyms, compound nouns, and academic subjects.
▪ The analyst has to ensure that any synonyms and homonyms are detected.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Homonym \Hom"o*nym\, n. [Cf. F. homonyme. See Homonymous.] A word having the same sound as another, but differing from it in meaning; as the noun bear and the verb bear. [Written also homonyme.]

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"a word spelled and pronounced the same as another but different in meaning," 1807, from French homonyme and directly from Latin homonymum (Quintilian), from Greek homonymon, neuter of homonymos, from homos "same" (see homo- (1)) + onyma, dialectal form of onoma "name" (see name (n.)).


n. 1 (context semantics strict sense English) A word that both sounds and is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning. 2 (context loosely English) A word that sounds or is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning, technically called a (term: homophone) (same sound) or a (term: homograph) (same spelling). 3 (context taxonomy English) A name for a taxon that is identical in spelling to another name that belongs to a different taxon.


n. two words are homonyms if they are pronounced or spelled the same way but have different meanings


In linguistics, a homonym is one of a group of words that share the same pronunciation but have different meanings, whether spelled the same or not. A more restrictive definition sees homonyms as words that are simultaneously homographs (words that share the same spelling, regardless of their pronunciation) and homophones (words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of their spelling) – that is to say they have same pronunciation and spelling, but different meanings. The relationship between a set of homonyms is called homonymy. Examples of homonyms are the pair stalk (part of a plant) and stalk (follow/harass a person) and the pair left ( past tense of leave) and left (opposite of right). A distinction is sometimes made between "true" homonyms, which are unrelated in origin, such as skate (glide on ice) and skate (the fish), and polysemous homonyms, or polysemes, which have a shared origin, such as mouth (of a river) and mouth (of an animal).

In non-technical contexts, the term "homonym" may be used (somewhat confusingly) to refer to words that are either homographs or homophones. The words row (propel with oars) and row (argument) and row (a linear arrangement of seating) are considered homographs, while the words read (peruse) and reed (waterside plant) would be considered homophones; under this looser definition, both groups of words represent groups of homonyms.

The adjective homonymous can additionally be used wherever two items share the same name, independent of how close they are or aren't related in terms of their meaning or etymology.

Homonym (biology)

In biology, a homonym is a name for a taxon that is identical in spelling to another such name, that belongs to a different taxon.

The rule in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature is that the first such name to be published is the senior homonym and is to be used (it is " valid"); any others are junior homonyms and must be replaced with new names. It is, however, possible that if a senior homonym is archaic, and not in "prevailing usage," it may be declared a nomen oblitum and rendered unavailable, while the junior homonym is preserved as a nomen protectum.

For example:
  • Cuvier proposed the genus Echidna in 1797 for the spiny anteater.
  • However, Forster had already published the name Echidna in 1777 for a genus of moray eels.
  • Forster's use thus has priority, with Cuvier's being a junior homonym.
  • Illiger published the replacement name Tachyglossus in 1811.

Similarly, the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants specifies that the first published of two or more homonyms is to be used: a later homonym is " illegitimate" and is not to be used unless conserved (or sanctioned, in the case of fungi).

Example: the later homonym Myroxylon L.f. (1782), in the Leguminosae, is conserved against the earlier homonym Myroxylon J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. (1775), in the Flacourtiaceae (now called Xylosma in the Salicaceae).
Homonym (disambiguation)

Homonym may refer to:

  • Homonym, a name or word with more than one distinct meaning
  • Homonym (biology), a taxon identical in spelling to a name belonging to a different taxon

Usage examples of "homonym".

Does that mean you ran into a homonym professionally, in your preparation of contracts, that brought about unexpected complications?

Venatician homonym he was certain he understood, they were intimately connected in the languages of Earth too.

Can anyone give me a group of four homonyms, four words all pronounced alike, with spelling and meaning different in each case?

I remember correctly, that homonyms are ambiguities that could cause trouble.

Hours into the game, we had to find homonyms in the menu of a restaurant, swim out to a dinghy in the middle of a lake, and go into a house party to retrieve a clue from kids who were staging a knife fight.

They were, it turned out, the surgically altered army of Eddie Cortez homonyms, who made it possible for him to be in so many places at so many times, in all the fabled five mansions.

He had tried hard to avoid homonyms, wanting to reserve the confusion of words that sounded alike but meant different things until they shared a larger vocabulary.

Ransaran was riddled with irregular verb forms, homonyms, synonyms, irregular spellings, nonstandard pronunciations, and appropriations from every other major language.

It had virtually no irregular verbs and very few homonyms, and a completely consistent phonetic spelling.

He was of course transfixed by any incidence of the word alcohol, and all its cognates and synonyms and homonyms.