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Homonym

A homonym is one of a pair of words that are spelled the same way but have different meanings and origins. A homonym may also be one of a pair of words that are pronounced the same way but have different meanings and origins. Two examples of homonym pairs are pen (the writing utensil) and pen (an area fenced in order to contain an animal), as well as oar (a paddle used to propel a boat) and ore (a mineral-bearing rock). Homonym comes from the Greek prefix homos- which means same, and onoma, meaning name.


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Examples

I also had to chew over 16D for a good while – “Shout” could have indicated a homonym clue, but in this case it was a synonym of YELL, added to OW (now, with one third off) and FIN, crosswordese for five dollars. (The New York Times)

The name of the month, March, has nothing to do with its homonym. (The International Business Times)

More puritanical modern translators, frightened by modern English’s anatomical homonym, translate the line from Acts as “Thou shalt not kick against the goads.” (The Juneau Empire)

She is infused with awareness that, in French, the work’s title is a homonym for “mother”. (The Jewish Chronicle)

Crimea’s regional legislature speaker Vladimir Konstantinov also urged local residents in early December to name their newborn daughters Sveta — a homonym of the Russian word “svet,” or “light” — but that proposal did not gain traction either. (The Moscow Times)

The Japanese word “idenshi” means “gene,” but a homonym that changes the last Chinese character in the compound to “history” alters the meaning slightly. (The Japan Times)

But when Hulton greets me at the far end of the Starlight Ballroom one Friday evening in September, he offers both names, along with a handshake, and, unprompted, says of his handle’s homonym, hikari, “It’s a Japanese word. It means ‘divine light’ or ‘enlightenment.’ (The San Diego Reader)

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