Beware of Homographs

Homographs are words in a language that have the same spelling but different meanings. As a native speaker, when we hear Homographs, we don’t actively focus on them but understand the meaning that is being communicated depending on the context.
But for somebody learning a new language, these can be very tricky and using them wrong can garner unwanted attention or laughter. Imagine- when somebody says “Yes, we are free tomorrow”, you know they mean to say that they are unoccupied. But many beginners in the language won’t know the difference between ‘Free- unoccupied’ and ‘Free-without charge‘. And that’s going to cause quite a stir!
Here is a list of Homographs we come across in our daily lives but never realize how many different meanings a single word has.

  • Bow- to bend/ a pair of tied loops/ the front of a boat
  • Ball- one you throw/ the other you dance at
  • Content- happy/ something contained
  • Contract- acquire/ an agreement/ to make small
  • Coordinate- to organize/ numbers showing position
  • Desert- to flee/ a hot region
  • Fine- well/ an amount paid as punishment/ thin
  • Lead- a metal/ to go first
  • Minute- very tiny/ 60 seconds (this is a pair that is pronounced differently)
  • Object- a thing/ to oppose
  • Project- to show/ a plan
  • Row- a fight/ a line/ to propel a boat forward
  • Subject- topic/ people under a king’s rule
  • Tear- to rip/ drop of water from the eye (pronounced differently again)
  • Gear- used to drive/ a kit for any sport/ equipment
  • Watch- to see/ an object that shows time/ duty of looking out
  • Grill- method of cooking/ a metal gate/ interrogate
  • Apply- to register for/ to spread evenly
  • Beat- a part of music/ to hit
  • Dear- loved one/ expensive


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Saurabh Mangar June 8, 2018 at 10:01 am

Sailee you can be a word scientist 🙂

Sailee Brahme June 8, 2018 at 10:29 am

I am very interested in linguistics and etymology and have studied it too.

Shwetank Gupta June 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm

Nice piece of information to share with audience

Sailee Brahme June 9, 2018 at 7:09 pm


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