Wheal or weal vs wheel

Wheal or weal and wheel  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 wheal or weal and wheel, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A wheal or weal is a welt or a raised and irritated portion of the skin. Wheals or weals are often a symptom of an allergy to ingested substances like peanuts or to substances encountered topically, like poison ivy. Originally, the word wheal or weal was a term for an injury inflicted by a whip. The word wheal or weal came into use in the very early 1800s and may be a variation of the word wale, which was a term for an injury inflicted by a whip.

A wheel is a circular frame that may have spokes and turns on an axle. A wheel may be a part of a machine or a vehicle. For instance, an automobile has four wheels to carry the vehicle down the road and a steering wheel to point it in the right direction. A riverboat may be propelled by a paddle wheel. A roulette table features a wheel. Wheel is used as a noun and also as a verb, to mean to revolve or pivot or to propel oneself by moving a wheel. For instance, someone pushing himself in a wheelchair may be said to wheel across a room. Related words are wheels, wheeled, wheeling. The word wheel is derived from the Old English word hweol.


Red spots on the hands, blisters on the torso and itchy wheals have been identified as possible signs of the coronavirus. (Daily Mail)

The weal differs in size from 1 mm to many centimetres- “giant urticaria,” and is usually intensely itchy. (Forbes India)

“I jumped and I turned the wheel like this,” Tarek said, smiling from the driver’s seat after completing the race. (Reuters)

On the sidewalk, waiters wheeled and lifted patio heaters into position, as though blocking out a modern-dance performance involving giant shiitake-mushroom sculptures. (New Yorker)

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