Meaning of homonym in English:


Pronunciation /ˈhɒmənɪm/

Translate homonym into Spanish


  • 1Each of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins.

    For example, pole and pole
    Compare with homograph, homophone

    ‘students often struggle with homonyms’
    • ‘What exactly are the differences between synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms?’
    • ‘Each court reporter might use different conventions to represent homonyms or other ambiguous words.’
    • ‘He fractured grammar to create double or triple meanings; he developed enigmas to give his readers the satisfaction of interpreting them; he used a vocabulary of homonyms and antonyms to create multiple possible meanings…’
    • ‘Much of the chatter derives from the abundance of homonyms in Chinese, where a single sound can carry many meanings.’
    • ‘Though as Dave Heasman points out far too often, I still mix up homonyms.’
    • ‘There is one obligatory element of the New Year's feast all over China, and that is a whole fish, because the Chinese phrase ‘have fish’ (you yu) is a homonym of ‘have surplus’, so eating it is supposed to augur well for the new year.’
    • ‘Obviously, ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’ are homonyms.’
    • ‘So much humor depends upon homonyms and creative mishearing.’
    • ‘When my first-grader Clare typed in ‘rows’ for ‘rose,’ the device did not recognize the homonym.’
    • ‘Rhett Miller is king of the homonym and double meaning.’
    • ‘The pun lost status in English, despite a wealth of homonyms.’
    • ‘Read aloud again, looking for word problems: missing words, wrong homonyms (their when you mean there), misspellings, grammatical errors, and confusing words.’
    • ‘Still, the basic idea is sound: given that most of our misspellings are now corrected for us by computers, the only thing standing between us and perfect spelling is homonyms.’
    1. 1.1Biology A Latin name which is identical to that of a different organism, the newer of the two names being invalid.
      ‘because Pinus tenuifolia is a later homonym, a new name must be provided’
      • ‘This is clearly an error as Miller and Gurley's younger name could not have priority over Meek and Worthen's older name, unless it was a replacement name for a homonym.’
      • ‘Official codes of nomenclature continue to enforce this rule - one name, one species - although rooting out synonyms and homonyms is a constant struggle.’
      • ‘In 1895 C.S. Sargent assigned it the name R. michauxii to correct Michaux's use of a homonym and to honor its discoverer.’


Late 17th century via Latin from Greek homōnumon, neuter of homōnumos ‘having the same name’, from homos ‘same’ + onoma ‘name’.