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Examples :: English Language :: Homographs

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Homograph is derived from the Greek. It means literally 'same write'. The word describes any group of words which are spelt the same way but have different meanings.

Note: Homonyms are case sensitive. A name, for example, or something spelt with a capital letter, isn't a homograph.

Homonyms aren't the same as Homophones.

They're not always pronounced the same way.

I will read the book.
I have read the book.

Close to home.
Close the door.

Homographs differ in their meanings. Some homographs are obviously from a common original derivation. Others are quite unrelated, with no obvious connection to other uses of the words:


Close- nearby: 	                'We're getting close to the border.' 
Close- confining: 'It's very close in here, isn't it?'
Close- to close: 'Close the door, it's freezing.'
Close- detailed: 'The company is under close scrutiny.'


Commission- sales pay	         'The job only pays commission.'	
Commission- work of art 'They decided to commission a statue.'
Commission- official 'The Commission will study the industry.'
Commission- military 'He was commissioned a second lieutenant.'


Cut- to sever: 		         'Cut the ribbon.'
Cut- to divide property: 'Everyone gets a cut.'
Cut- make smaller: 'I know a short cut.'
Cut- interrupt 'She cut across him.'


Grand- appearance		'Everything was done to look grand'
Grand- slang 'We made a hundred grand.'
Grand- musical 'grand piano, Grand Staff'
Grand-occasion 'It was a grand historical event.'

Gross- number		         12 x 12 (144) An old commercial measure.
Gross- slang 'A really gross person.'
Gross- financial The company had a gross net profit of $X.
Gross- measurement The gross weight is 1kg including packaging.

Tear- crying			He wiped away a tear.
Tear- action Tear the cloth.
Tear- noun There's a tear in the tablecloth.
Tear- slang That'll tear it, if that happens.

Tone- music			A tone is a measure of pitch.
Tone- color A color tone is a shade.
Tone- physical fitness People tone their physiques.
Tone- attitude 'Don't use that tone with me!'

Wind- nature			The wind blows through the trees.
Wind- metaphor The wind of time blew away the Empires.
Wind- action Winding a clockwork watch.
Wind- slang 'Don't wind them up.' 'He's got the wind up.'
'He's all wind, all talk.'
The best ways of identifying homographs is their idiomatic context. When learning a language like Chinese or English, homographs always have unique meanings.