The word “homograph” comes from a couple of Greek words, namely homos and grapho, literally meaning “same writing”. A homograph is a word which is spelled the same way as another word but may not be pronounced the same way, plus has a different meaning. The difference in pronunciation might be very slight, though, sometimes it’s just an accented syllable.
Let’s have a closer look on a couple of examples:
- lead /lɛd/ – a noun, a kind of metal
- lead /liːd/ – a verb, to control a group of people or a country
As you can see, these two homographs are spelled the same, yet they have different meanings and their pronunciation is not the same either. Let’s try to find out which of the above mentioned meanings of the word “lead” is correct to use in the sentences below.
- “Gold is heavier than lead.” /lɛd/
- “We have chosen the right person to lead the expedition.” /liːd/