Word similarity

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Language units large and small

Marked forms of words - Inflection, Derivation, Declension, Conjugation · Diminutive, Augmentative

Groups and categories and properties of words - Syntactic and lexical categories · Grammatical cases · Correlatives · Expletives · Adjuncts

Words and meaning - Morphology · Lexicology · Semiotics · Onomasiology · Figures of speech, expressions, phraseology, etc. · Word similarity · Ambiguity · Modality ·

Segment function, interaction, reference - Clitics · Apposition· Parataxis, Hypotaxis· Attributive· Binding · Coordinations · Word and concept reference

Sentence structure and style - Agreement · Ellipsis· Hedging

Phonology - Articulation · Formants· Prosody · Sound change · Intonation, stress, focus · Diphones · Intervocalic · Glottal stop · Vowel_diagrams · Elision · Ablaut_and_umlaut · Phonics

Speech processing · Praat notes · Praat plugins and toolkit notes · Praat scripting notes

Analyses, models, software - Minimal pairs · Concordances · Linguistics software · Some_relatively_basic_text_processing · Word embeddings · Semantic similarity

Unsorted - Contextualism · · Text summarization · Accent, Dialect, Language · Pidgin, Creole · Natural language typology · Writing_systems · Typography, orthography · Digraphs, ligatures, dipthongs · More linguistic terms and descriptions · Phonetic scripts

This article/section is a stub — some half-sorted notes, not necessarily checked, not necessarily correct. Feel free to ignore, or tell me about it.

Various -nyms

Same pronunciation

(Yes, the terms are a bit messy, it's not just you)


  • different meaning
  • (says nothing about spelling. If same spelling it is a homonym. If different spelling, it is a heterograph)
  • same pronunciation
  • e.g. waste, waist


  • different meaning
  • different spelling
  • same pronunication
  • e.g. two, too

The case of:

  • same meaning
  • different spelling
  • same pronunication
  • e.g. gases, gasses

Same spelling

homograph (note: group with some more specific cases)

  • different meaning
  • same spelling
  • (says nothing about pronunciation. If also same pronunciation, it is a homonym)


  • different meaning
  • same spelling
  • different pronunciation
  • e.g. desert (noun: arid region; verb: to abandon), bow (gesture; weapon)
    read (reading in present and past tense)

The case of:

  • same meaning
  • same spelling
  • different pronunciation
  • (e.g. the with and without stress, )

To complete the cases above

homonym = homograph and homophone

  • different meaning
  • same spelling
  • same pronunciation
  • e.g. mean (average; being nasty),
    stalk (plant; following)
  • also turns up around equivocation - using different interpretations of the same word at different times
e.g. right is sometimes used to actually mean privilege


  • same meaning (or very similar) (distinguished mostly by idiosyncrasies)
  • different spelling
  • different pronunication

identical words (same everything)

unrelated words (different everything)

Note that polysemy looks pretty close to homography

Paronym: Near-homonyms, or related in root (e.g. cognates)

Other relations

  • Antonym: Opposition of meaning in some sense, e.g. good and bad. (Occasionally has various gradations. Seems to work best on abstract nouns)
see also auto-antonyms, words with have distinct meanings that oppose. (though as one of these meanings may fall out of style, a lot examples may seem somewhat archaic or contrived)

  • Hyponym and hypernym: More specific and more general (respectively)
e.g. cutlery has hyponyms spoon, fork, etc.
Knife has hypernym cutlery.

  • Meronym and holonym: part versus the whole (respectively)
You could say engine is a meronym of a car; car is a holonym in relation to its engine.
see also mereology, which more formally deals with this

  • Troponym: relations to other manners of otherwise the same thing
e.g. nibble, eat, gorge are troponyms of each other

See also