Loch vs lock

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Loch and lock are two words that are pronounced in the same way when sp0ken aloud but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language, and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones; the words affect-effect are a good example. However, 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. 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. We will examine the definitions of the words loch and lock, where they came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

loch is a lake or an inlet of the sea. Loch is a Gaelic word used in Ireland and Scotland. The word loch has been in use since the 1300s. Perhaps the most famous loch is Loch Ness in Scotland, home of the reputed Loch Ness monster, affectionately known as Nessie. Many sightings of the monster have been reported since the 1930s, though they are all vociferously disputed.

lock may be a device used to secure an item or to keep others out. These locks may be opened through various means, including a combination of numbers on a dial, a key, a passcode, a retina scan, a thumbprint, etc. The word lock may also be used to mean a gated portion of a canal that may be opened to let boats and ships pass through. Lock may also mean a hank of hair. In the United States, the word lock is used in the phrase to have a lock on something, which means that something is a certainty or has no chance of failing. The word lock is also used as a verb, to mean to secure or restrict access to something, to engage a lock. Related words are locks, locked, locking, locker. The word lock is derived from the Old English word loc, meaning to secure something.


Police said the body was discovered in the water at Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, shortly before 9am on Sunday. (The Daily Echo)

Loch Lomond has been facing pressure to combat the tide of plastic waste, abandoned camping gear and tin cans which has blighted many of its spectacular viewpoints. (The Telegraph)

During the last presidential elections cries of “lock her up” energized the crowds. (The San Francisco Examiner)

She backcombed her blonde locks to within an inch of their lives, and all for a cheeky bathroom selfie. (The Daily Mail)

“Republicans do have a lock on the rural South, save for several heavily African-American areas,’’ said David Wasserman, U.S. House editor at the Cook Political Report. (USA Today)