Definition of homonym in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhɒmənɪm/


1Each of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins (e.g. pole1 and pole2).
Example sentences
  • What exactly are the differences between synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms?
  • Each court reporter might use different conventions to represent homonyms or other ambiguous words.
  • He fractured grammar to create double or triple meanings; he developed enigmas to give his readers the satisfaction of interpreting them; he used a vocabulary of homonyms and antonyms to create multiple possible meanings…
1.1 Biology A Latin name which is identical to that of a different organism, the newer of the two names being invalid.
Example sentences
  • This is clearly an error as Miller and Gurley's younger name could not have priority over Meek and Worthen's older name, unless it was a replacement name for a homonym.
  • Official codes of nomenclature continue to enforce this rule - one name, one species - although rooting out synonyms and homonyms is a constant struggle.
  • In 1895 C.S. Sargent assigned it the name R. michauxii to correct Michaux's use of a homonym and to honor its discoverer.



Pronunciation: /hɒməˈnɪmɪk/
Example sentences
  • Here, she's playing off the homonymic quality of ‘poll’ and ‘pole.’
  • Medieval French was much less concerned with the problems of homonymic clash than subsequent stages of the language, and readily tolerated a plethora of homonyms which modern French has often officiously tidied up.
  • The author may choose to use a specific word because it is polysemic or homonymic.


Pronunciation: /həˈmɒnɪməs/
Example sentences
  • Turning from the CWA to that other Calgary writing group, the CWA… we discover just what a headache homonymous acronyms can be.
  • A word like walk is polysemous (went walking, went for a walk, walk the dog, Cheyne Walk), while a word like bank is homonymous between at least bank for money and bank of a river.
  • Of course, the difficulty here is to provide a list that is as comprehensive as it is unambiguous, which is nearly impossible given homonymous words such as 'like' (verb, adverb, preposition and conjunction).


Pronunciation: /həˈmɒnɪmi/
Example sentences
  • Rather, I'm interested in homonymy - in particular, the word quire.
  • Ear (of corn) and ear (the organ) are examples of homonymy, because etymologically the former derives from Old English éar while the latter derives from Old English éare.
  • Some ambiguities are merely ‘chance homonymies’ - as with the Greek word ‘kleis’ which means both ‘bolt’ and ‘collar-bone’.


Late 17th century: via Latin from Greek homōnumon, neuter of homōnumos 'having the same name', from homos 'same' + onoma 'name'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: homo|nym

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