Homonyms – A Wonderful Way to Learn Synonyms


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

Homonyms are the words that sound like one another, particularly when that are pronounced the same way but spelt differently. 

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines a homonym as: each of the two or more words having the same spelling and/or pronunciation or different spelling and/or pronunciation but different meanings and origins. 

The word homophone comes from the Greek homo meaning same and phone meaning sound. Strictly speaking therefore, the word homophone is used to refer to words which sound alike, although they have a different spelling and meaning. 


List of Homonyms (For Copetitive Exams)

Aid: financial assistance, help, relief, support
Aide:  assistant, supporter, deputy, attendant

Aero: Of an aircraft.
Arrow: A slender pointed shaft, as in bow and arrow

Ail:  trouble; afflict
Ale: a kind of strong beer

Aisle: A walk way, passageway, path, lane, passage
Isle: An island (..the Isle of Man.)

Allowed: permitted, approved, enabled, sanctioned
Aloud: in a loud manner, out loud, clearly, plainly, distinctly

Altar: A raised platform used as a place of worship,  (in Christian churches) the communion table
Alter: To change, turn, vary, transform

Arc: A portion of a circle, curve, bow
Ark: the most sacred symbol of God's presence (Judaism)

Ascent: climbing, scaling, mounting
Assent: agreement, accord, sanction, approval

Awed: In a state of wonder, awestrickenawestruck (very impressed) tourists who are awed by the ancient monument.
Odd: Not the usual, queer; eccentric

Bail: Temporary release of an accused person, guarantee, vouch, security, bond, pledge
Bale: A bundle, (Cricket) either of two small wooden bars on stump
bale of hay

Bait: Food used to entice animals as prey,  enticement, temptation, or provocation
Bate:  To lessen the force or intensity of; moderate, take away, subtract.

Bald: hairless, smooth, bare, shorn
Bawled: shouted, called, screamed, roared, a bawling baby

Band :A small group of musicians and vocalists, ensemble, group, orchestra, combo
Banned: Disallowed, illegal, prohibited, barred, blocked

Bard: A poet, traditionally one reciting epics, A piece of armor used to protect or ornament a horse.
Barred: Enclosed,  blocked, restricted, hold up, restrained

Bare: Naked or without any covering, empty, wanting, mean, lacking
Bear: Manage to tolerate (pain or problem etc…),  support, carry, shoulder, sustain

Bark: The tough outer covering of a tree, crust husk, skin
Braque: A sailing ship

Baron: Tycoon, Magnate, Mogul, Industrialist
Barren: arid, desolate, empty, impoverished, infertile, parched, sterile, desert

Beach: coast, shore, waterfront, bank
Beech: A large tree with smooth grey bark

Berry: a small fruit (blackberries and raspberries.)
Bury: deposit, entomb, embalm, enshrine, inhume

Berth: dock, wharf, anchorage, billet
Birth: beginning, childbirth, creation, delivery

Better: Superior, in a more advanced stage 
Bettor: A person who bet, gambler, player, plunger, wager
 
Bite: Use the teeth to cut, pain, sting, wound, chaw, chomp,  gob, itch, laceration
Byte: (Computing) a group of binary digits or bits (usually eight) operated on a unit 

Bloc: An alliance or a group, association, faction, alliance, cabal, confederation, league
Block:  building, group, complex, tower

Boar: A wild pig,
Boer: A south African of Dutch descent 

Boor: A rough and bad-mannered person, barbarian, bear, boob (error), brute, buffoon, cad, churl, dork
Bore:  tire, exhaust, annoy, fatigue

Board: plank, panel, timber, piece of wood, decision-making body of an organization 
Bored: Weary of,  fed up, tired,  wearied

Bolder:  fearless, enterprising, brave, daring
Boulder: A large rock 

Bole: A tree trunk 
Bowl: A dish 

Boos: Disparaging sounds or calls from fans
Booze: Alcohol, liquor,  drink, spirits, juice

Borough: district, area, community, quarter
Burrow: A hole,  tunnel shelter,  den
Bough: Large branch of a tree 

Bow: bend, bob, nod, incline
Buoy: A navigational aid 
Boy: a male child 

Breach:  break, violate, go against, flout
Breech: The back part of a rifle or gun barrel, buttocks, behind , seat, tail 

Bread: Food made of flour, water and yeast, Money (Informal), Covered (breaded fish or meat )
Bred: manner of upbringing – the past tense of breed 

Broach: To raise (a sensitive) a subject for discussion, bring up, approach, introduce, mention
Brooch: An ornamental fastened to clothing, badge, pin, clip, fastening

Cache: A hidden store of things, fund, supply, reserve
Cash: Money in the form of notes and coins

Cannon: A large, heavy piece of artillery formerly used in warfare ,(Billiards or snooker) A stroke, Collide with something forcefully or at an angle 
Canon: A general rule, principle, list, index, catalogue, syllabus

Canvas: A strong coarse cloth used to make sails, tents etc., a painting 
Canvass: Solicit votes, campaign, electioneer

Capital: The most important political city a country, wealth, capital letter 
Capitol: (In the USA) A building housing a legislative assembly,  (The Capitol) The temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome 

Carat: A unit of weight (equal to 0.2 grams) used for measuring gemstones, Caret: A proofreader’s mark (^) placed below a line of text to indicate a proposed insertion or correction 
Carrot: A tapering orange-colored root eaten as a vegetable 

Cast: Throw forcefully, Shed, Emit, Group of actors
Caste: Hereditary classes of Hindu society

Cede: Give up (power or territory), surrender, grant, transfer, abandon
Seed:  grain, pip, germ, kernel

Cell: A small room, Cubicle, Booth, Chamber
Sell: Give or hand over in exchange for money, Vend, Retail, Plug

Censor: Edit, Expurgate (clean up), Stifle
Sensor: Antenna, Feeler

Cite: Quote, Name, Mention, Allude to (refer to)
Sight: View, Vista (scene), Vision
Site: An area of ground on which something is located; The place where a particular event or activity is occurring or has occurred 

Coarse: Rough or harsh in texture, unrefined 
Course: Flow, Route, Direction, Path, Itinerary, Lessons, Option

Complacent: Self-satisfied, Smug (haughty), Content
Complaisant: showing a desire to comply or oblige; polite

Complement: Enhance, Complete, Improve, Boost, Accompaniment, Allowance
Compliment: Praise, Honour, Tribute, Courtesy, Accolade (tribute)

Conch: A tropical marine mollusk 
Conk: (Of a machine) break down, Faint or go to sleep or die 

Coo:  (Of a pigeon) murmuring sound, (Of a person) a soft and gentle voice 
Coup:  Overthrow, Coup d'état, Rebellion, Takeover
Dammed: Hold back or obstruct to prevent water from flowing 
Damned: (Informal) used to emphasis one’s anger or frustration , Cursed 

Days: Two or more days 
Daze: Make unable to think react properly, Stunned confusion, Confound, Bewilder, Baffle

Dew: Tiny drops of water
Due: Owing, Appropriate, Expected, Directly

Discreet: Tactful, Diplomatic, Politic, Reserved, Inconspicuous, Subtle
Discrete: Separate, Distinct , Detached

Doe: A female deer, hare, rabbit, rat, ferret or kangaroo 
Dough: A mixture of flour and liquid, Currency (slang), Money 

Doc: The short form of the word Doctor, a physician 
Dock: Harbor, Wharf, Port, quay
 
Draft: Sketch, Outline, Breeze
Draught: A current of cool air in a room or in a confined place, a single act of drinking or inhaling 

Dual: Consisting of two parts, Twin, Double
Duel: Fight, Contest, Spar (box, fight)

Ewe: A female sheep 
Yew: A coniferous tree 

Eyelet: A small round hole in leather or cloth for threading a lace, string or rope through, Grommet, Perforation (hole)
Islet: Small island, Isle
 
Faint: Dim, Low, Light, Soft, Weak, Muffled, Giddy, Dizzy
Feint: Trick, Ploy, Ruse, Stratagem

Fair: Unbiased, Impartial, Even-Handed, Unprejudiced
Fare: Charge, Price, Cost

Farrow: piglets
Pharaoh: Egyptian kings of ancient times 

Faze: Put off, Daunt, Discourage, Disconcert (distress)
Phase: Stage, Segment, Period

Feat: Achievement, Accomplishment,
Feet: The plural form of foot (lower part of leg)

Feted: Celebrated, Welcomed, Or Admired 
Fetid: Stinking, Rank, Offensive, Foul

Few: Not many, Less in number, Only some
Phew: An expression of relief, usually with an exclamation mark 

Flair: Natural ability or talent , Aptitude, Knack (skill)
Flare:  Rocket, Light, Signal, Beacon, Burn, Blaze

Flea: Louse, Bug, Nit, Mite
Flee: To run away, Take flight, Run off

Flour: A powder obtained by grinding grains
Flower: Blossom, Thrive

Foreword: Introduction, Preface, Prologue
Forward: Ahead, Onward

Foul:  Unclean, Stinking, Soiled, Fetid (rotten)
Fowl: A domesticated bird, Chicken, Pullet (fowl), Capon

Gait: Way of walking, Pace
Gate: Entrance, Gateway

Gild: Cover with gold, Make golden
Gilled: gills of fish and some amphibians
Guild: Association, Society, League, Club

Grill: Question, Interrogate, Quiz, Probe
Grille: A framework of metal bars or wire , Lattice, Fence

Hail: Frozen rain, Sleet, Summon, Acclaim, Greet
Hale: Strong and healthy (hale and healthy) 

Hall: A large room, Lobby, Vestibule, Hallway
Haul: Drag, Draw, Pull, Hale

Hangar: A garage for aircraft , Shed, Storage place
Hanger: Hook, Peg

Heal: To cure a disease, Mend, Repair
Heel: The hind part of the foot 

Heard: Sound picked by the ear 
Herd: Large group of animals, Flock, Drove, Pack

Hoard: A store of money or valued object, Amass, Squirrel away
Horde: Crowd (Mainly derogatory), Multitude, Gang

Hoes: More than one long handled gardening tool with a thin metal blade, used mainly for weeding 
Hose: Hosepipe, Pipe, Wash

Holy: Sacred, Consecrated, Blessed
Wholly : Completely, fully and entirely 

humors: Mood; State of mind
Humorous: Causing amusement, Funny, Hilarious, Droll ( Ant.- dull)

Idle: Avoiding work, lazy, Inoperative, Indolent, Shiftless
Idol: An image or representation of a god, Icon, Deity, Hero, Pin-up
Idyll: A simple poem or other piece of writing

In: Inside, During, Within
Inn: Bar, Tavern (pub)

Inc: The abbreviation for incorporated 
Ink: A colored fluid that is used for writing, drawing or printing 

Incite: Provoke , Inflame, Goad, prod
Insight: Understanding, Perception, Awareness, Experience

Jean: A heavy twilled cotton cloth especially denim 
Gene: Genetic material, DNA

Knead: Massage, Rub, Squeeze, Mold
Need: Require, Call for, Requirement, Penury

Knight: A man elevated to honorable military rank after service as a page or squire 
Night: Ttime from sunset to sunrise 
Knot: Loop, Tie, Tether, Lump

Naught: The digit zero, Nothing, Nil, Zilch
Not: A word denoting negation 

Lacks: A thing that does not have or is devoid of, Be deficient in
Lax: Relaxed, Slack, Careless, Lenient, Limp, Loose

Lessen: To reduce or bring down in number, Diminish, shrink, ebb
Lesson: A thing that learnt, Session, Lecture

Liar: A person who tells lies, Fraud, Impostor, Hypocrite, Phony (fake)
Lyre: A stringed instrument, used especially in ancient Greece 

Lichen: A fungus, A skin disease
Liken: To compare, Equate, put side by side

Lightening: To reduce the weight of something, Lessen, Cheer up
Lightning: A brief, natural, high-voltage electrical discharge

Load: Heavy or bulky thing that is being carried, Freight, Burden, Encumber
Lode: A vein of metal ore in the earth, Seam (layer), Stratum, Deposit

Loan: Advance, Credit, Lend
Lone: Single, Solitary, Solo, Distinct

Main: Chief in size or importance, Core, Focal, Central
Mane: Locks, Tresses (locks), Curls, mane

Maize: A cereal plant that yields corn 
Maze:  puzzle, Labyrinth, Warren, Confusion, Jumble, Tangle


Mall: A large enclosed shopping area where traffic is not permitted, shopping center
Maul: (of an animal) To wound by scratching or tearing, Claw, Mangle, Criticize
Moll: A gangster’s female companion, A prostitute or commercial sex worker 

Manner: Method, Conduct, Comportment, demeanor (behavior)
Manor: A large country house with lands, Mansion 

Medal: Award, Honor
Meddle: Interfere, Butt in (interrupt), Put your oar in, Pry (poke your nose in)

Might: Expressing the possibility, Great power or strength, Valor, ability
Mite: Louse, Tick, Nit

Miner: A person who works in mines 
Minor: With little importance, Insignificant, Trifling, Petty

Naval: Relating to navy, Marine, Maritime, Seafaring, nautical
Navel: Small hollow just below the waist, Central point of a place 

Nay: no, a negative answer 
Neigh: A horse’s cry 

None: not any, no one 
Nun: Holy woman, Cleric, Rector

Oar: A pole with a flat blade that is used to row or steer a boat
Ore: naturally occurring solid material from which a metal or valuable mineral can be extracted 

Oh: An exclamation of surprise or interjection 
Owe: Be indebted, Be obliged, Have a loan from

Ordinance: An authoritative order, Decree, Law
Ordnance: Mounted guns or cannons, Artillery, Armaments

Overdo: To use too much of, exaggerate 
Overdue: Past due, In arrears, Behind time

Pail: A bucket, Container, urn, bud vase
Pale:  Insipid, Light, Pastel, Watery, Pallid, Ashen, Faint

Pain: Ache, Twinge, Soreness, Sting, Smarting, Pang
Pane: Windowpane, Sheet, Panel, sheet of glass

Pair: A set of two, Duo, Couple, Join up, Team up
Pare: Trim, Strip, Skin, Curtail
Pear: An edible fruit, the tree that bears this fruit 

Palate: The roof of the mouth, Taste, Appetite, Liking, Penchant (fondness)
Palette: A thin board on which an artist lays and mixes colors, The range of colors used by a particular artist in a particular time 
Pallet: A straw mattress, A crude or makeshift bed 

Pause: Break in proceedings, Gap, Recess, Halt briefly, Hesitate
Paws: An animal’s foot having claws and pads, Mitt, Hand

Pea: A round green seed eaten as a vegetable
Pee: To urinate 

Peak: Climax, Crest, Summit, Pike, Acme, Pinnacle, Zenith, Crowning, Top
Peek: Peep, Peer, Steal a look, Glance, Preview (Ant.- Stare)
Pique: Interest, Stimulate, Intrigue, Arouse, Awake, Resentment, Irritate, Rile,  

Peal: Ringing, Din, Tolling, Clangor, Sound
Peel: Covering, Skin, Unwrap, Bark, Husk

Pedal: Bar, Handle, Knob, Switch, rail
Peddle: Sell, Market, Get rid of, Advertise, Advocate

Plain: Simple, Basic, Natural Clear, Ugly
Plane: Flat surface, Level surface, Airplane, Even, Smooth, Horizontal

Pray: Beg, Implore, Plead, Meditate, Hope, Wish
Prey: Victim, Quarry, Kill, target

Principal:  Chief, Main, Prime, Key, Head, Leader, (Law) A person directly responsible for a crime (the principal accused) 
Principle: Theory, Notion, Tenet, Dogma, Code, Attitude

Quarts: Several units of liquid capacity equal to quarter of a gallon or two pints.
Quartz: A hard mineral consisting of silica.

Queue: Line, Row, File, Stand in line, Line up,
Cue: Signal, Sign, Reminder, Nod, Prompt

Rain: Precipitation, Drizzle, Downpour, Driving rain, Bucket down, Sprinkle, Volley, Deluge
Rein: Bridle, Harness, Restraint, Strap, Restriction
Reign: Sovereignty, Control, Period in office, Hold sway, Govern, Rule

Raise: Lift, Hoist, Lift up, Elevate, Increase, Inflate, Upgrade, Rear, Cause, Create, Mention
Raze: Demolish, Destroy, Annihilate, Wreck, Ruin, Tear down, Flatten
Rise: Climb, Climb, Go up, Increase, Augment, Levitate, Elevation, Upsurge, Intensification, Expansion, Wake up, Awaken, Rebel, Originate, Hill

Rap: Blow, Knock, Smack, Crack, Strike
Wrap: Cover, Enfold, Swathe, Wrap up, Parcel up, Bathrobe, Housecoat

Read: Study, Interpret, Understand, Comprehend, Peruse, Decipher, Figure out, Recite
Reed: A tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family that grows in water or on marshy ground 

Roe: The mass of eggs contained in the ovaries of a female fish or shellfish, especially when ripe and used as food, A small deer
Row: Line, Paddle, Disagreement, Fight, Noise, Rumpus, Clamor, Ruckus, Wrangle, Scull

Root: Origin, Source, Cause, Search, Nose, Rummage, Rifle, Burrow
Route: Path, Way, Course, Send, Transmit

Rot: Decompose, Decay, Putrefy, Become rancid, Perish
Wrought: (Of metal) beaten out or shaped by hammering, Shaped, Twisted, Produced

Rote: Mechanical or habitual repetition 
Wrote: Past tense of write, Inscribe, Engrave, Jot down, Compose

Rude: Impolite, Discourteous, Uncouth, Foul,
Rued: Regretted, Be remorseful, Be repentant, Lament, Be sorry

Sachet: Envelope, Packet, carton, box
Sashay: Walk ostentatiously (flamboyantly, showily) with exaggerated hip and shoulder movements, Glide, Sway, slither

Seam: Layer, Vein, Closure, Ridge, Line of stitching
Seem: Appear, Look, Look as if, Look like

Sear: Burn or scorch, Char, Flame, Blister
Seer: Soothsayer, Prophet, Clairvoyant, Oracle, Psychic (spiritual, telepathist)

Serf: (During feudal times) An agricultural laborer
Surf: Waves, Breakers, Top, Influence

Shear: Cut off, Shave, Clip, Trim
Sheer: Pure, Utter, Complete, Steep, Precipitous, Fine, Gossamer, Vertically

Sic: Written exactly as it appears in the original (used after a copied or quoted word) 
Sick: Ill, Unwell, Pale, Ailing, Nauseous, Queasy, Dizzy

Slay: Kill, Murder, Assassinate, Eliminate, Butcher, Exterminate
Sleigh: A sledge drawn by horses or reindeers , Toboggan, Luge, Sled 

Soar: Fly or rise high into air, Ascend, Circle, Rocket, Go sky-high
Sore: Painful, Tender, Stinging, Angry,  Wound

Sole: Only, Solitary, Individual, Exclusive, Lone
Soul: Spirit, Essence, Heart, Psyche, Person

Stake: A wooden pole, Wager, Bet, Risk, Gamble, Investment, Prize, Palisade
Steak: A slice of meat 

Stationary: Not moving, Motionless, Static, Inert
Stationery: Paper or other material needed for wiring 

Storey: A floor or part of a building comprising all the rooms those are on the same level 
Story: Tale, Account, Yarn, Anecdote, Rumor, , Article, Lie

Succor: Assistance or support during the time of hardship or distress 
Sucker: (Informal) A gullible person or one whom it is easy to deceive 

Suite: Set, Group, Matching set, Collection
Sweet: Sugary, Syrupy, Lovable, Kind, Amiable, Melodious, Dulcet, Satisfying
 Sundae: A dish of ice with added such as fruit, nuts and syrup or chocolates 
Sunday: The day of the week before Monday

Symbol: Sign, Representation, Icon, Emblem, Logo, Badge
Cymbal: A musical instrument

Taught: past tense of teach 
Taut: Stretched tight, Stiff, Inflexible, Tense, Anxious, Wired

Team: Group, Band, Bunch, Squad, Side, Line up
 Teem: Swarm, Be full, Be loaded, Pour, Pelt down, Be stuffed

Throne: A ceremonial chair for a monarch, bishop or similar figure 
Thrown: To be hurled, Terrified, Scared out of your wits, Unnerved

Tic: Twitch (jerk), Spasm , Fit , Paroxysm
Tick: Mark, Mark off, Indicate, Moment, Jiffy, Trice, Twinkling

Tighten: To make tighter or better fitting, Tauten, Squeeze, Tense up, Strengthen, Intensify, Stretch
Titan: A person or thing of great strength, intellect or importance 

Timber: Wood, Lumber, Kindling, sticks
Timbre: Resonance, Character, Quality, Tone, Reverberation (echo)
Troop: Members of the armed forces, Flock, Company, Group, March, Parade
Troup: A group of dancers, actors or other entertainers who move from place to place performing at different venues 

Urn: A tall, rounded vase, Pot, Pitcher
Earn: Gain (Money), Be paid, Produce, Deserve, Warrant, Secure

Use: Apply, Employ, Make use of, Draw on, Operate, Application
Ewes: female sheep 

Vain: Ineffective, Hopeless, Conceited, Vainglorious, Inflated, Useless
Vein: Seam , Layer , Streak , Mood , Attitude , Any of the tubes forming a part of the circulatory system by which blood is conveyed to all parts of the body towards the heart 

Vale: A valley, Dale, Gorge (Ant. - Hill)
Veil: Covering, Blanket, Hide, Cloak, Envelop

Verses: Poetry, Rhyme, Doggerel, Stanza, Canto
Versus: Against, Vs., Opposed to, V, In opposition to

Wade: Walk through any liquid or viscous substance 
Weighed: To have one’s weight taken, Considered, Evaluated, Mulled over

Wail: Cry, Howl, Weep, Yowl, Moan, Complain, Complain

Wale: A ridge on a textured woven fabric such as corduroy; A horizontal band around a woven basket 
Whale: Giant, Monster, Elephant, Goliath

Waist: A part of the human body; Narrow portion in the middle of something 
Waste: Misuse, Squander, Dissipate, Throw away, Litter, Leftover, Atrophy, Uncultivated

Waive: Relinquish, Give up, Surrender, Not claim, (Ant. – Enforce)

Wave: Gesture, Gesticulate, Signal, Wield, Flutter, Surf, Rash

Want: Desire, Fancy, Crave, Yearn for, Aspire, Dearth
Wont: Accustomed to, one’s customary behavior or habit 

Wet: Damp, Soaked, Sodden, Soggy, Dripping, Raining, Moisten, Drench, Splash, Douse
Whet: Sharpen the blade of a tool or weapon, Hone, Grind, Rouse, Awaken

Whine: Complain, Moan, Bleat, Hum, Drone, Buzz, Scream 
Wine: Alcoholic drink, Mauve, Lavender

Who’s: A contraction of who is or who has 
Whose: (Interrogative) Belonging to or associated with which person is related 

Xi: The fourteenth letter of Greek alphabet, transliterated as X 
Psi: The twenty third letter of Greek alphabet, transliterated as Ps 

Yack : A variant spelling of Yak –denoting a trivial or unduly persistent conversation (informal) 
Yak: A large ox with shaggy hair, humped shoulders and large horns that is used in Tibet as a pack animal, Talk, Have a chat, Gossip, Chitchat

Yoke: A wooden crosspiece fastened over the necks of two animal and attached to a plough or cart that pull together, Repression, Burden, Bondage
Yolk: Yellow part of a bird’s egg 




 



Wednesday, 25th Jan 2017, 03:14:16 AM

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