Leased and least are two 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 leased and least, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.
Leased is the past tense of lease, which means to grant the use of property, goods, or services for a specific amount of time. The lessor or person who grants the lease retains ownership of the property, goods, or services but rents or lets the use of those things to the lessee for a specific period of time. The word leased is derived from the Old French word laissier, which means to let out. Related words are lease, leases, leasing.
Least is an adjective that describes something that is the smallest, the most unimportant, the lowest position or degree. Least is the antonym of most. The word least is derived from the Old English word læsest, which means the lowest in importance.
Kuterra Salmon, started by the ‘Namgis First Nation in 2013 to demonstrate that on-land fish farming was possible, has been leased to American investor Emergent Holdings for 15 years. (The North Island Gazette)
In pending litigation, heirs of the Carson families are claiming the county was leased the land and does not have full ownership. (The North Virginia Daily)
A longstanding feud over a wind-power project has boiled over into grisly violence, after at least 15 people were bludgeoned to death with stones and cement blocks, and some bodies were partly burned. (AP)
At least 106 people were shot in Chicago, 14 of them fatally, from midafternoon Friday through early Monday, according to authorities and Tribune data. (The Chicago Tribune)