AskDefine | Define homograph

Dictionary Definition

homograph n : two words are homographs if they are spelled the same way but differ in meaning (e.g. fair)

User Contributed Dictionary

see Homograph



From homo- < ὁμός + -graph < γράφος


  • a RP /ˈhɒməgrɑːf/|/ˈhəʊməgræf/
  • a US /ˈhɑːməgræf/|/ˈhoʊməgræf/
  • ,


  1. A word that is spelled the same as another but has a different meaning and usually a different etymology.

Usage notes

All homographs are homonyms, but not vice versa, because homograph is more precise than homonym. Specifically, homographs must have the same spelling, though they usually have different meanings and may be pronounced differently.
  • The verb bear#Verb and the noun bear#Noun are homographs with the same pronunciation and different etymological origins.
  • The verb alternate#Verb and the adjective alternate#Adjective are homographs with different pronunciations but close etymological origins. Such homographs are also heteronyms.
  • The verb meet#Verb and the noun meat#Noun are not homographs, since they have different spellings.

Related terms


A word with the same spelling but different meaning
  • Croatian: homograf, istopisnica
  • French: homographe
  • German: Homograph
  • Hebrew: ‏הומוגרף
  • Russian: омограф
  • Swedish: homograf
  • Turkish: eş sesli

Extensive Definition

A homograph is one of a group of words that share the same spelling but have different meanings. When spoken, the meanings are sometimes, but not necessarily, distinguished by different pronunciations. A homograph can be either a homonym or a heteronym.
shift n. (a change)shift n. (a period at work)shift v. (slang for 'move it')
In (1) all three words are identical in spelling and pronunciation (ie they are also homophones), but differ in meaning and function. These are commonly described as different senses of the same word, but if a word is regarded as a unique idea separate from its orthography and pronunciation then they are two different words.
read /riːd/ (present)read /red/ (past)
(2) is an example of two words spelt identically but pronounced differently. Here confusion is not possible in spoken language.
Homograph disambiguation is critically important in speech synthesis, natural language processing and other fields.
In typography, "homograph" is sometimes used as a synomym for homoglyph.

More examples

See also

  • Homography, a concept in geometry. A homography matrix is sometimes known as a homograph.
homograph in Bulgarian: Омограф
homograph in Danish: Homograf
homograph in German: Homograph
homograph in Galician: Homógrafo
homograph in Italian: Omografia
homograph in Hebrew: הומוגרף
homograph in Lithuanian: Homografas
homograph in Dutch: Homograaf
homograph in Norwegian: Homograf
homograph in Polish: Homografia
homograph in Portuguese: Homógrafo
homograph in Romanian: Omograf
homograph in Russian: Омографы
homograph in Simple English: Homograph
homograph in Swedish: Homograf
homograph in Ukrainian: Омографи
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1