Heteronyms


'Homonyms' are two words that are identical in spelling and in pronunciation, but entirely different in etymology and meaning: such as I felt the felt . But what of those that half qualify? A heteronym (or "homograph") is a word having the same spelling as another, but a different sound and meaning, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Some entries are linked to an illustrative verse or quote.

Some of the above have derivative heteronyms - for example, windy (full of wind) and windy (as in, twists and turns).


The following heteronyms seem to me to be artificial, in that one form only occurs in crosswords:


The Oxford Engish Grammar notes that heteronyms include "a number of words where the stress varies in speech according to whether the word is functioning either as a verb or as a noun or adjective", and lists

and readers of this web page have contributed:

and the following Americanism:

Here are some variations on this:


Another subgroup is heteronym pairs in which one word is capitalised (typically, a proper noun), and the other is not:

According to the dictionary (draft revision published online 2003) Noel in the sense of "the feast of Christmas tide" is an English word, but Noël in the sense of a Christmas carol derives from the French and is therefore sometimes seen with an accent. This leads to one more list of heteronyms: those arising when a foreign word is absorbed into the English language:

Double
and double as in double entendre
Expose
and exposé
Lame
and lamé
Pique
and piqué
Pot
English noun; or, 'pot pourri' (the latter pronunciation is a one-trick word)
Resume
and resumé.
Sake
English noun; or, rice wine

Note that accents are sometimes omitted when a word is captialised.


Most recent additions, October 2013, marked thus.

Additions and corrections to richard@onetrickwords.com please.

Richard's Useful Lists
One-trick Words Untruisms
Heteronyms Silent letters
Morissettes Quotes and Links


Wordplay compiled by Richard J Stevens.