Chaste and chased 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 chaste and chased, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.
Chaste is an adjective that describes someone who is faithful to his or her spouse or who is not sexually active at all. Chaste may also mean pure, virtuous or simple. The word chaste is derived from the Latin word castus, which means morally pure or clean.
Chased is the past tense of chase, a verb that means to pursue, to trail someone, to attempt to attain something, to woo someone. The word chased is derived from Old French word chacier, which means to hunt. Related words are chase, chases, chasing, chaser.
When students inquired, the Honor Code Office stated that chaste, romantic behavior was permitted for both heterosexual and LGBTQ students. (The Salt Lake Tribune)
Eilish often cites the influence on her art of the brash and iconoclastic LA rapper-producer Tyler, the Creator, but her musical idol growing up was far more chaste: angel-voiced, mop-topped Justin Bieber. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
A Simi Valley resident was reportedly chased by a stranger wielding a knife after finding the man in his vehicle Monday evening, officials said. (Ventura County Star)
“I chased her all those years, and she wouldn’t have anything to do with me,” Phillip said. (The Virginian-Pilot)