Row vs row

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Row and row  are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. We will examine the definitions of the words row and row, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.

Row (row) is a British term for a noisy disagreement, argument, or fight. The word row is a slang term that came into use at Cambridge University in the mid-1700s, perhaps from the word rousel, meaning a bout of drinking.

Row (roh) is a word that may be used as a noun or a verb. Row, when used as a noun, may mean a line of people or things in a fairly straight line. Row may also refer to a round of knitting, or a horizontal line on a table of figures. Row may be used as a verb to mean to propel a boat by means of an oar. The word row to mean a line of people or things is derived from the Old English word ræw, which means a line. The word row to mean to propel a boat by means of an oar is derived from the Old English word rowan, which means to go by water.


The Dutchman appeared to have a row with De Boer on the touchline after he exited the field of play, but Wijnaldum insists that it was “nothing bad” and the pair are fine. (Liverpool Echo)

Neil Lennon snubs Sky Sports interview after Andy Walker ‘spreading lies’ row (Daily Record)

The baseball sailed over the right-field wall and every row of seats beyond it. (Bakersfield Californian)

The boat is more sensitive to unequal contributions than the eight is, so each rower must be on the same page and pull even weight to row the boat smoothly. (USA Today)