What Is a Homograph List?


Quick Answer

A homograph list is a list of words that have the same spelling, but different pronunciations and different meanings and uses. Some homograph lists also include homonyms, which are words that have the same spelling, the same pronunciation, but different meanings.

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Full Answer

Some examples of homographs include the word "abstract," which can mean "summary," a noun, or "not concrete," an adjective, depending on the position of the accent. Similarly, a noun indicating psychological symptoms or as an adjective indicating something complicated share the use of the word "complex." When there are multiple pronunciations for the same word, the homographs are known as heteronyms or heterophones.

In contrast with heterophone homographs, homophone homographs, also known as homonyms, display no variation of accent nor pronunciation. Some typical examples include the word "bear," which can be used as a noun to indicate an animal or as a verb meaning "to support," and the word "ball," which can indicate a sphere or a dance depending on context. Other homographs of this type include words such as "change," "mind," "just" and "left."

Importantly, not all homophones are homographs, just like not homographs are homophones. Homophones are in fact words displaying the same pronunciation, but not necessarily the same spelling. Examples of homophones that are not homographs include pairs of words such as "fair" and "fare," "merry" and "marry," and "to" and "two."

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