Homophones are words that are spelled the same with different pronunciations and meanings. Heteronyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and are pronounced differently, like tear: A tear ran down her cheek; Be careful so you don’t tear the paper. In this video, we go over words that are both heteronyms and homophones!
YouTube blocked? Click here to see the video.
I’ve done some blog entries on words that are heteronyms, and on words that are homophones. Today I want to look at words that are both heteronyms and homophones. To begin, the word bass. Spelled B-A-S-S, it has the ‘ay’ as in ‘say’ [eɪ] diphthong. It means low in pitch, it is also a stringed instrument. Bass. It is a heteronym with the word bass, also spelled B-A-S-S, and pronounced with the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ [æ] sound. Bass is a kind of fish. It is a homophone with the word base, spelled B-A-S-E. Base has many meanings, one of them being a bottom support. ‘The base of the table is wood’.
The word do is spelled D-O. It has the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ [oʊ] diphthong, and it is the first note in a musical scale. Do. However, D-O also spells the word do, with the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ [u]. ‘I will do that as soon as I can’. Do and do are heteronyms. Do is also part of a homophone set. Spelled D-O-E, doe is a baby deer. Spelled D-O-U-G-H, dough is something that is made before you bake something. For example, ‘You must chill the dough for an hour before cutting the cookies’, or, ‘You must kneed the bread dough for 15 minutes’. Dough is also slang for money.
The word lead, spelled L-E-A-D, pronounced with the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ [ε] vowel sound, it is a material or an element, lead. ‘The lead is very heavy’. It is a heteronym with the word lead, in which the E-A now takes the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ [i] vowel sound. This is a verb. ‘I will lead you to her’. Lead is also a homophone with the past tense of the word lead, with which it was a heteronym. Led is spelled L-E-D, it is the past tense of lead. I led the tour group yesterday.
The word present. It means a gift. ‘She received many gifts for her birthday’. The emphasis is on the first syllable, which has the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’. The second syllable has the schwa sound [ə]. Present. It is a heteronym with the word present, where the emphasis falls on the second syllable. Now the first syllable has the ‘ih’ as in ‘sit’ [ɪ] and the second syllable has the ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’. Present. It is a verb meaning to show or offer. ‘I present to you Mrs. Jones.’The plural of the word present, presents, as in, ‘I gave you two presents for Christmas’, is also a homophone. It is with the word presence spelled E-N-C-E. Presence in this case means, among other things, attendance. Your presence is requested at the meeting.
The word row, spelled R-O-W, can mean a line, ‘Let’s all line up in a row’, it can also be a verb meaning to paddle. Row has the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthong. It is a heteronym with the word row, where it takes the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ [aʊ] diphthong and means to fight. ‘My brother and I always had spectacular rows when we were younger.’ Row, R-O-W, is also a homophone with roe R-O-E, which means fish eggs. ‘I prefer sushi without roe.’
The word slough spelled S-L-O-U-G-H and pronounced with the ‘oo’ as in ‘boo’ vowel sound: it means a marshy area. It is in a heteronym group with two other words. Pronounced ow, slough, with the ‘ow’ as in ‘now’ diphthong, it is very related to the first definition, it is a hole with lots of deep mud in it. When it is pronounced as the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ [ʌ] with the ff F sound, slough, then it is the outer layer of skin on a snake it is also the verb of when the snake gets rid of that outer layer, and it is also used figuratively, meaning to dismiss something. ‘I sloughed over my friend’s insult of my brother.’ Slough is also part of a homophone set. When spelled S-L-E-W, it is the past tense of slay: ‘He slew the dragon’. It is also a large number: ‘There were a slew of people at the baseball game.’ When spelled S-L-U-E, it means to rotate or turn.
The last word: tear. Spelled T-E-A-R, it is what we shed when we cry. It is a heteronym with the word tear, where it takes on the ‘er’ as in ‘share’  diphthong, and it means to rip something. It is a homophone with the word tier, spelled T-I-E-R, that means level or ranking. ‘She went to a top-teir law school’. [With the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ vowel sound.]