Tole vs. Toll

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Tole and toll are two words that are spelled differently and have different meanings but are pronounced in the same fashion. They are homophones. We will look at the meanings of the words tole and toll, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Tole is a decorative type of painting that is applied to metal or wooden surfaces or decorative lacquer that is applied to metal or wooden surfaces. Tole is a type of folk art that stems from Germany or the Scandinavian countries. The word tole is derived from the French word tôle which means sheet iron.

A toll is 1.) an amount charged in exchange for the use of a road or bridge or the act of charging an amount in exchange for the use of a road or bridge 2.) a tally of deaths that have occurred because of a natural or unnatural disaster, accident or war 3.) the loss or adverse consequences of something 4.) the sound a bell makes or the action of the bell making the sound. Toll may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are tolls, tolled, tolling. The word toll is most probably traceable to the Greek word teloneion, which means tollhouse, taken from the Greek word telones which means tax collector.


She and late husband Gene had made the craft fair circuit for many years, selling her hand-painted craft items featuring her tole painting. (The Holyoke Enterprise)

Federal transportation officials on Friday picked the N.C. 540 Triangle Expressway toll road as one of 10 testing sites around the country for driverless car technology. (The News & Observer)

The updated death toll coincided with news reports from Nigeria that more than 100 members of Boko Haram, the intended target of the Tuesday bombing, had attacked another displaced persons encampment in the area on Thursday. (The New York Times)

A single bell tolled as an intimate band of mourners walked across remote Welsh fields yesterday to lay Lord Snowdon to rest. (The Daily Mail)

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