Chary vs cherry

Chary and cherry  are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words chary and cherry, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Chary means reluctant, hesitant, cautious. Chary is an adjective, the comparative is charier and the superlative is chariest. The word chary is fairly uncommon; it is derived from the Old English cearig, which means filled with care.

A cherry is a round, usually red, fruit. A cherry grows on a tree; the tree may also be referred to as a cherry and the wood derived from the tree may be referred to as cherry. Cherry may also mean a bright red color. The plural form of cherry is cherries. The word cherry is derived from the Greek kerasos, which means cherry or cherry tree.


I always feel chary about recommending the Society’s books since I’ve supplied introductions to several of them.  (The Washington Post)

These days, he is chary about directly handling the trash in the dhalao area. (Times of India)

The town of Houlton has accepted $1,700 from various donors to go toward planting cherry blossom trees at the Gentle Memorial Building, home of the town’s parks and recreation department. (The County)

True or not, we associate the familiar lattice-topped cherry pie with George Washington’s February birthday.  (Joplin Globe)

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