Are Aaron and Erin homophonic?

I was watching television last night where a father-to-be was talking about naming his child. He said that Erin – or what sounded like Erin – would be a good choice because it would work for either a boy or girl, you’d just change the spelling. I laughed derisively and said, “What spelling of ‘Erin’ is there for a boy’s name?” My ex replied, “A-A-R-O-N”. I said, “Nuh-uh!” and that Aaron should rhyme with baron, Erin with heron. Then, my ex said that all this time she had been pronouncing our friend Erin like she was Aaron and I hadn’t noticed! Well, I think that’s ridiculous. But then, it’s not the first time I’d heard it. Someone else told me that his middle name, Aaron, was, to the ear, the same as that of this girl he knew, Erin. I chalked it up to him being a teenager and therefore not fully tutored in orthoepy.

People, help me. Don’t you pronounce “Erin” and “Aaron” differently? Or am I the crazy one?

I only know of one person named Aaron, and he pronounces it pretty much as Erin. He’s an American jew.

Any time I’ve heard reference to the biblical Aaron, it’s always been pronounced to rhym like Erin. I’ve never heard a pronunciation to rhyme with baron.

How are you pronouncing “baron”? In my speech, “Erin”, “Aaron”, “baron”, and “heron” all rhyme. I’m an American, btw.

Merriam-Webster gives both pronunciations for Aaron, although “ar’-&n” is listed first. For Erin, it’s “er’-&n”.

Think of it this way. Have you ever heard of “Henry Erin”? Of course not. It’s pronounced “Aaron” as in “baron.”

I also rhyme “Erin”, “Aaron”, “baron” and “heron”

Midwest US dialect/accent - all 4 words cited: (“Erin” “Aaron” “baron” and “heron”) rhyme for me.

Air-uhn, bair-uhn and hair-uhn.

However, I differ from (some) other Midwesterners by insisting Dawn and Don ARE NOT homophones! “Don” has more of a nasal sound – more of an “ah” vs an “aw”

And don’t get me started on “pin” vs "pen…

My name IRL is Aaron and it is pronounced to rhyme with Baron, as the OP states.

Although many people I meet do mis-pronounce it the other way.
I think it is down to the personal opinion of the parents who name the child how it will be pronounced.
It can be either / or.

I would pronounce “Erin” with a short-I sound in the second syllable, but I’d pronounce Aaron, baron, and heron with a schwa. However, it would be really hard for someone listening to me tell the difference unless I was being very careful and pointing it out. It’s an unstressed syllable, and the sounds are too close. So you pronounce Aaron to rhyme with baron, but Erin to rhyme with heron? You’re saying that baron and heron don’t rhyme? Huh.

Vowel pronunciation varies considerably across the country. Some people would say that “bother” and “father” don’t ryme, though I can’t imagine it. They also say that “Mary,” “merry,” and “marry” are pronounced differently, though I can’t imagine that either. On the other hand, it drives me nuts when someone says “caught” like “cot” or “hawk” like “hock.” Didn’t they attend school?

Maybe they didn’t attend school in your neighbourhood.

No point in being angry or dismissive of other people’s perfectly valid pronunciations, merely because they differ with yours.

And ‘bother’ and ‘father’ aren’t even close in pronunciation in my area. As for "mary’ and ‘merry’, they are entirely distinct.

Your accent is not the basis for the rest of the world. Get over it.

Where I com from - Ireland - “baron” and “heron” don’t even remotely rhyme. Nor do “bother” and “father”, nor “Mary”, “merry” and “marry”.

All I can say is that some versions of English must be very short of vowel sounds.

As another person who speaks in the Midwestern Standard, I too rhyme Aaron, Erin, baron, and heron.


Let me try to clear things up. I’m completely accepting of different accents and pronunciations. My question about whether they went to school was a joke.

About the Aaron, Erin, baron, and heron thing - I was assuming that the difference was in the pronunciation of the second syllable - a schwa sound versus a short i. But after reading some of the comments, I’m wondering whether you might pronounce the first syllable differently instead. Is this true?

None of those words rhyme with any of the others where I come from. Nor do merry/marry/Mary, nor do bother/father. In fact I can’t see any rhymes in this thread.

Of course it’s only common courtesy to pronounce a person’s name they way they do, so I wouldn’t need correcting twice.

scratch1300: Care to guess how we pronounce Leominster in this country?

Yep, that’s what I’d meant in the OP. I myself pronounce the second, unstressed syllable of both names as a schwa (I guess if I were saying “Erin” with some extra enunciation, the short “i” sound would be revealed, but ususally just a schwa). It’s the first syllable that had me questioning.

Anyway, your reply grabbed my interest. Caught and cot, hawk and hock – well, they sound the same to my (native New Englander) ears. But baron and heron rhyming? And father, bother? Merry, marry? What weird moon-man language do they speak down there in Plano? :slight_smile:

I have to know … am I the only person who opened this thread having misread the title as “Are Aaron and Erin homophobic?” and wondering who Aaron and Erin were?

I’ve known an Aaron and an Erin and they both pronounced their names identically.

In my experience, it because Midwesterners smile when they say that A. New Yorkers, on the other hand, don’t.

I used to date a girl from Michigan and I used to always taunt her about her inability to pronounce a certain type of “a”.

She would always alternate between “ahh” and a something that sounded like a very quick “yea”. So the name Sarah came out like “seera”. A lot of midwesterners can’t say the short a without throwing an “ee” sound behind it.

So Aaron with an “e” behind it will sound just like Erin. Whereas East-Coasters have a short A sound devoid of that “e” thing. Aaron sounds very different from Erin.

My girlfriend Erin ordered carry-out recently and gave the pick-up name as “Erin” (duh). When I went to pick it up, on the bag it said “Erin.” The next week, I ordered carry-out from the same restaurant, and, knowing my GF was picking up the order, gave the pick-up name as “Erin.” When she went to pick up the order, the bag said “Aaron.”

Apparently, in my area, we pronounce Erin and Aaron the same, and people just differentiate based on context.

And, Knead, I thought the exact same thing.


I have a sister named “Erin” and a step-brother named “Aaron.” (Our families merged upon my father’s remarriage.) It was a real source of confusion while growing up.

We took to calling them “Erin [middle name]” and “Aaron [middle name].”

While I did distinguish between the names, most people pronounced them the same (all from Texas).

My grandmother, on the other hand, took to calling my sister “Erin” (rhymes with “heron”), and my step-brother “Aay-ron” (first syllable rhymes with “hay”; second syllable rhymes with “con.”) :slight_smile:

To me, “baron” and “heron” rhyme. “Aaron” is ridiculously close - “Erin” is slightly higher.

If I were to say “I saw Aaron give Erin a watch.” someone would be able to hear the difference and would know who had the new watch, but if I said “I just talked to Erin.” the same person wouldn’t be able to tell whether I meant “Erin” or “Aaron.” West coast, btw.