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In linguistics, a heteronym (also known as a heterophone) is a word that is written identically but has a different pronunciation and meaning. In other words, they are homographs that are not homophones. Thus, row (propel with oars) and row (argument) are heteronyms, but mean (intend) and mean (average) are not (since they are pronounced the same). Heteronym pronunciation may vary in vowel realisation, in stress pattern (see also Initial-stress-derived noun), or in other ways:
- A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
- Do you know what a buck does to does?
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when does are present.
- Don't desert me here in the desert!
- When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
- With every number I read, my mind gets number and number.
- He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- After a number of injections my jaw got number.
- I did not object to the object.
- We must polish the Polish furniture.
- He thought it was time to present the present.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
- the weather was beginning to affect his affect
- The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
Most heteronyms are doubles. Triple heteronyms are extremely rare; two examples, sin and mobile, are listed below. Proper nouns can sometimes be heteronyms. For example, the final syllable of Oregon is pronounced like the word in by residents of that state in the United States, while in the name of the village of Oregon in Wisconsin, the final syllable is pronounced like the word on. Other examples include local pronunciations of Cairo, GA, Versailles, KY, and Milan, TN. There are also pairs which include both initialisms and regular words, e.g., US and us.
Heteronyms can also occur in non-alphabetic languages. For example, the Chinese character 行 can be pronounced háng, meaning "profession", or xíng, meaning "OK".
"Heterophone" literally just means "different sound", and this term is sometimes applied to words that are just pronounced differently, irrespective of their spelling. Such a definition would obviously include virtually every pair of words in the language, so "heterophone" in this sense is normally restricted to instances where there is some particular reason to highlight the different sound. For example, puns normally involve homophones, but in the case of heterophonic (or imperfect) puns, the two words sound different, and yet similar enough for one to suggest the other (for example, mouth and mouse).
|abstract||//||a.||existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence|
|//||v.||consider (something) theoretically or separately from something else|
|//||v.||to use improperly|
|address||AmE and BrE //||v.||to speak to (address) the crowd|
|AmE // BrE //||n.||a postal address|
|advocate||//||v.||to argue for someone else|
|//||n.||a person who speaks in support of something|
|//||noun||asexual, spiritual love|
|allied||//||a.||The vice is of a great kindred: it is well allied.|
|//||a.||The Treaty of Vienna had bound the Allied Powers to make war together upon Napoleon.|
|alternate||// ~ //||adj.||other|
|//||v.||to take turns|
|//||v.||to set apart for|
|//||v.||to associate ownership|
|articulate||//||v.||The tourists are the ones who always try to articulate every syllable when they speak the language.|
|//||a.||In one decade, the image of youth went from radicals uttering rage-filled rhetoric to the much less articulate valley girl or surfer wannabe.|
|axes||//||n.||pl. of axis|
|//||n.||pl. of axe|
|ay/aye||// .||adv.||He voted aye on the legislation he had sponsored|
|//||adv.||They vowed their undying love for aye.|
|bass||//||n.||low in pitch|
|blessed||//||adj.||having divine aid|
|//||v.||past tense of bless|
|bow||//||n.||a stringed weapon|
|//||v.||to bend in respect|
|n.||the front of a boat or ship|
|buffet||// ~ //||n.||sideboard meal|
|complex||//||n.||A collection of buildings with a common purpose, such as a university or military base|
|//||adj.||Made up of multiple parts|
|concert||//||n.||We saw kd lang in concert.|
|//||v.||We had to concert all our energy to stay awake.|
|confines||//||n. pl.||Work within the confines of the contract.|
|//||v.||But the contract confines my creativity!|
|conflict||//||n.||The mother said to her belligerent son, "Violence is no way to resolve conflict!"|
|//||v.||The two news reports seem to conflict each other.|
|console||//||v.||provide comfort from grief|
|contract||//||n.||The contract was supposed to expire seven years after it was signed.|
|//||v.||Derek firmly stated that he would rather contract pneumonia and die than stand outside wearing that ridiculous pink and green poncho.|
|convict||//||v.||to find guilty|
|crooked||//||v.||I crooked my arm to show the sleeve.|
|//||a.||Unfortunately, that just made the sleeve look crooked.|
|desert||//||n.||an arid region|
|discard||//||n.||Toss it in the discard pile.|
|//||v.||But I don't want to discard it!|
|do||//, //||v.||What do you think you are doing?|
|//||n.||To warm-up, the singer sang the scale from do.|
|does||//||n.||pl. of doe|
|//||v.||form of do|
|//||n.||one spelling of the plural of do as a noun - e.g. hair does|
|dogged||//||v.||At night proctors patrolled the street and dogged your steps if you tried to go into any haunt where the presence of vice was suspected. (Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh)|
|//||a.||Still, the dogged obstinacy of his race held him to the pace he had set, and would hold him till he dropped in his tracks. (Jack London, The Son of the Wolf)|
|//||v.||past tense of dive|
|ellipses||//||n.||Plural of ellipse|
|//||n.||Plural of ellipsis|
|house||//||n.||a residential building|
|//||v.||to place in residence|
|incense||//||n.||Dad, I bought this incense at the temple.|
|//||v.||Big mistake. If you burn it here, you'll incense your mother.|
|//||n.||a disabled person|
|laminate||//||v.||to assemble from thin sheets glued together|
|//||n.||material formed of thin sheets glued together|
|learned||//||adj.||having much learning|
|//||v.||past tense of learn|
|//||pn.||The capital of Peru|
|live||//||v.||to be alive|
|//||n.||unit of time|
|mobile||AmE //, BrE //||n.||The baby sat in awe at the bright colors on the mobile.|
|AmE //, BrE //||a.||Although most animals are mobile, the sponge is sessile.|
|//||pn.||A city in Alabama|
|moped||//||n.||a small motorcycle|
|//||v.||past tense of mope|
|//||adv.||in multiple ways|
|overall||//||a.||Overall, we didn't do too badly.|
|//||n.||I need new overalls.|
|periodic||//||a.||Temperature shows periodic variation.|
|//||a.||Periodic acid is an oxoacid of iodine.|
|//||adj.||of, from, or native to Poland|
|//||n.||the current moment (e.g. At present)|
|//||adj.||existing in the immediate vicinity (e.g. Santa is present.)|
|primer||//||n.||Book that covers the basic elements of a subject|
|//||n.||An undercoat of paint|
|//||n.||fruit and vegetables|
|//||v.||to cast an image|
|putting||//||v.||pr. part. of to put|
|//||v.||pr. part. of to putt|
|ragged||//||v.||She ragged on me about my ragged jeans.|
|//||a.||But my ragged jeans are my trademark, I responded.|
|//||n.||one who rebels|
|//||v.||to make a record|
|//||v.||to sign again; re-sign|
|resume||//||v.||to start again|
|//||n.||curriculum vitae (sometimes distinguished with acute accents; résumé)|
|root||// or //)||n.||The tree's root was rotted.|
|//||v.||A pig can be trained to root for mushrooms.|
|row||//||n.; v.||a line; to paddle a boat|
|separate||//||a.||This should be divided into packets of ten cartridges each, which should be rolled up in flannel and hermetically sealed in separate tin canisters. (Samuel W. Baker, The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia)|
|//||v.||To stalk these wary antelopes I was obliged to separate from my party, who continued on their direct route. (Samuel W. Baker, The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia)|
|//||n.||one who sews|
|//||n.||one who shows|
|sin||//||n.||a moral error|
|//||n.||abbrev. for sine|
|//||n.||Sumerian god of the moon|
|sow||//||v.||to plant seeds|
|//||n.||a mature female in the swine species|
|//||v.||to cause to undergo|
|tear||//||n.||liquid produced by crying|
|tier||//||n.||Our seats are in the third tier of the stadium.|
|//||n.||Will the tier be around to make these knots?|
|whoop||//||v.||Pa says he's gonna whoop you good if you don't learn some manners!|
|//||v.||When they scored a goal, he began to whoop and holler.|
|//||v.||past tense of wick (e.g. to wick away some liquid)|
|//||v.||to tighten a spring|
|wound||//||v.||past tense of wind|