Maybe we need a word for this

OK, there’s a word for when two different words sound the same (homophone)–e.g. “fair” and “fare”. & there’s a term for words that look the same in two different languages but which mean something different (a “false friend”).

So: is there a term for different words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently? If not does some enterprising soul have a suggestion for a name for this phenomenon?




OK, not an earthshaking question. Still, I’m sure this is one area that some adventurous lexicographer or linguist has commented on, even dreamt up a term for… --N


And because linguistics always has more than one name for anything: heteronyms.

Ah, good to know what to call them, even if there’s two options to pick from.

(I note I said “homophone” when I meant “homonym”.)

Hm, the natural next question for any good fan of pointless language-games like palindromes & anagrams is whether it’s possible to construct sentences using homographs that make sense no matter which alternate sense & pronunciation is used, esp. when like “entrance” the word functions as two different parts of speech… I will have to give this some thought. --N

So we have heteronyms = homographs ?
Talk about an identity crisis :smiley:

“The thief took a bow.”

Without context it is not apparent whether the thief stole a device used to fire arrows, or bent at the waist.