English (RP) Homophones pairs
This is a list of English homophones (words with different spellings and meanings but the same pronunciation) in the word list created by Roger Mitton from the Advanced Learners' Dictionary of Current English. Mitton added a large number of proper names to the word stock of the dictionary, and encoded the pronunciations following the scheme suggested by John Wells for the Alvey project. All I have done here is re-index the dictionary according to pronunciation and identify any adjacent identical pairs.
Originally 2750 homophone pairs, 5500 words, showed up when the pronunciations were indexed. A number of these were alternative spellings of the same word, such as Maharajah/Maharaja, Czar/Tsar, realise/realize , etc. After eliminating these I came down to 2782 words. These included one group of six homophones, air, Aire, Ayr, e'er, ere and heir , seventeen groups of four homophones, and 104 groups of three homophones. The remaining 1200 pairs included 115 pairs of compound forms of -man/-men, such as airman/airmen , in which the vowel difference has been neutralised, and 16 loan words or phrases from French, such as tour de force/tours de force , in which the singular/plural distinction is seen and not heard. These last two categories have been listed separately .There is one category which I have omitted with some misgiving, namely the homonyms (same spelling and pronunciation, different meanings) in which one member of the pair is a proper noun and would always be capitalised while the other is not. These are words like Jack/jack, China/china, Barking/barking, Welsh/welsh, Art/art, and so on. They almost meet the definition of homophone pairs (same sound, different spelling, different meaning) but not in all contexts. I have, however, included homophones where one member of the pair is a proper noun provided that the two words are spelled differently, as in the case of Brighton/brighten, Chile/chilly, Cowes/cows , and so on.
The homophone pairs involving post-vocalic -r, such as caught/court and ion/iron , will not be homophones for speakers of rhotic dialects. There is also room for argument over homophone pairs where one of the words ends in -r, such as awe/ore , since even for RP speakers these will not always be homophones when the next word begins with a vowel. However, these have been included here.
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beaters betas beau bo bow beaux bows beer bier beers biers beetle betel beetles betels bell belle belles bells berg burg bergs burgs Bern burn berries buries berry Bury bury berth birth better bettor betters bettors bight bite bights bites billed build blew blue boar bore board bored boarder border boars bores Boche bosh bode bowed Boers boas bold bowled bolder boulder bole boll bowl boles bolls bowls bomb-sight bomb-site bomb-sights bomb-sites boos booze borders boarders born borne bourne bough bow boughs bows boy buoy boys buoys brae bray braes braise brays braid brayed brake break brakes breaks braking breaking breach breech bread bred Brest breast brewed brood brews bruise bridal bridle bridals bridles Brighton brighten Britain Briton broach brooch broaches brooches brows browse bruit brute bruits brutes budges budgies bur burr burrs burs bused bussed bust but butt buy by bye buys byes c sea see c's seas sees seize cache cash cached cashed caches cashes caching cashing calk caulk Cork cork calked caulked corked calking caulking corking calks caulks corks call caul callous callus calls cauls Calne khan calve carve calved carved calves carves calving carving candid candied Cannes can cannon canon cannons canons canvas canvass canvases canvasses Capt capped carat carrot karat carats carrots karats Carole carol Carrie carry cast caste caster castor casters castors castes casts caught court cause caws cores Cavan cavern cawed chord cord cored cede seed ceded seeded cedes seeds ceding seeding ceiling sealing cell sell cellar seller cellars sellers cells sells censer censor censers censors cent scent sent cents scents cereal serial cereals serials cession session cessions sessions chard charred chased chaste chauffeuse chauffeuses chaws chores cheap cheep chews choose Chile chilli chilly choc chock chocks chocs choir quire choirs quires choler collar cholers collars chorale corral chorales corrals chords cords chute shoot chutes shoots cite sight site cited sighted sited cites sights sites citing sighting siting citrous citrus clanger clangour Claude clawed clause claws climb clime climbs climes coal kohl coaled cold coaming combing coarse corse course corses courses coarser courser coat cote coats cotes coax cokes cocks cox coddling codling coign coin quoin coigns coins quoins coir coyer Colne cone colonel kernel colonels kernels complement compliment complementary complimentary complements compliments conker conquer conkers conquers coo coup cookie cooky coos coups copies kopjes cops copse Copt copped copy kopje core corps council counsel councillor counsellor councillors counsellors councils counsels cousin cozen cousins cozens coward cowered Cowes cows creak creek creaks creeks Crewe crew crewed crude crews cruise cruse cruises cruses cubical cubicle Cupar cooper curb kerb curbs kerbs currant current currants currents Currie curry cygnet signet cygnets signets cymbal symbol cymbals symbols Cyprus cypress Czech check cheque Czechs checks cheques daisies dazes Daisy daisy dam damn dammed damned damns dams Dane deign Danes deigns daws doors days daze deanery denary dear deer Derek derrick descent dissent descents dissents desert dessert deserts desserts Devizes devises dew due Di die dye diarist direst died dyed dies dyes dire dyer discreet discrete doe doh dough does dohs doze doggie doggy dollar dolour dollars dolours Dolly dolly done dun dost dust Doug dug douse dowse doused dowsed douses dowses dousing dowsing draft draught drafted draughted drafting draughting drafts draughts drawers draws droop drupe droops drupes dual duel ducked duct e's ease earn urn earns urns eaves eves Eddie eddy eerie eery eyrie effed eft elicit illicit elusive illusive ensure insure ensured insured ensures insures ensuring insuring Ernest earnest ewe U yew you ewes U's use yews eyelet islet eyelets islets f^eted fated f^eting fating fain feign faint feint fainted feinted fainting feinting faints feints fair fare fairs fares fallacies phalluses farther father faun fawn fauns fawns feat feet few phew find fined Finn fin Finns fins fir fur firs furs furze fisher fissure fishers fissures flair flare flairs flares flawed floored flaws floors flea flee fleas flees flecks flex flew flu flue flocks phlox floe flow floes flows flour flower floured flowered flourier flowerier flouriest floweriest flouring flowering flours flowers floury flowery foaled fold for fore four formally formerly foul fowl fouled fowled fouler fowler fouling fowling fouls fowls Frances Francis Frank franc frank Franks francs franks frays phrase frees freeze frieze freezes friezes friar frier friars friers fungous fungus g gee Gael gale Gaels gales gaff gaffe gaffes gaffs gage gauge gaged gauged gages gauges gaging gauging gait gate gaits gates Gallup gallop gamble gambol gambled gambolled gambles gambols gambling gambolling gaud gored Gaul gall Gauls galls gauze gores gays gaze geezer geyser geezers geysers Gene Jean gibe gybe jibe gibed gybed jibed gibes gybes jibes gibing gybing jibing gild guild gilder guilder gilders guilders gilds guilds gilt guilt Goole ghoul gorilla guerrilla gorillas guerrillas Gorky gawky grade grayed greyed grate great grater greater grays graze greys greaves grieves groan grown groin groyne groins groynes guessed guest guide guyed Guy guy Guy's guise guys hail hale hairs hares hall haul halls hauls handsome hansom hangar hanger hangars hangers hart heart hawed hoard horde haws whores hay hey he'd heed he'll heal heel healed heeled healing heeling heals heels hear here heard herd hears here's heroin heroine Herr hair hare Herren heron hertz hurts hewed hued hews hues hi hie high hide hied higher hire him hymn ho hoe hoar whore hoards hordes hoarse horse hoes hose hold holed hole whole holes wholes holloa hollow holloas hollows Hoo who hookahs hookers hoop whoop hooped whooped hooping whooping hoops whoops hour our hours ours house how's Hugh hew hue humerus humorous idle idol idles idols in inn Inc ink 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puttee putty puttees putties Q cue queue Q's cues queues quarts quartz quietest quietist R are rack wrack racket racquet rackets racquets radical radicle radicals radicles raid rayed rain reign rein rained reigned reined raining reigning rains reigns reins raise rase rays raze raised rased razed raiser razor raisers razors raises rases raising rasing rancour ranker rap wrap rapped rapt wrapped rapping wrapping raps wraps Ray ray re read reed read red reads reeds rear rhea rears rheas reigning reining Rennes wren rep repp rest wrest rested wrested resting wresting rests wrests retches wretches revere revers reveres revers review revue reviews revues Rex wrecks Rheims reams rheum room Rhodes roads rigger rigour riggers rigours right rite wright write righting writing rights rites wrights writes ring wring ringer wringer ringers wringers ringing wringing rings wrings road rode rowed roc rock rocks rocs roe row role roll roles rolls Rome roam rood rude rued roomer rumour roomers rumours 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turns their there they're theirs there's Thorne thorn threw thro' through thru throe throw throes throws throne thrown thyme time tic tick ticks tics tide tied tided tidied tighten titan tightens titans tike tyke tikes tykes tire tyre tires tyres to too two toad toed towed toe tow toeing towing toes tows told tolled tonne ton tun tonnes tons tuns tor tore tracked tract trews trues troop troupe trooper trouper troopers troupers troops troupes trussed trust tubas tubers tunas tuners 'twill twill Tyne tine 'un an vain vane vein vale veil vales veils vanes veins Venus venous veracious voracious veraciously voraciously vial viol vials viols wade weighed wail wale whale wailed whaled wailing whaling wains wanes waist waste waists wastes wait weight waited weighted waiting weighting waits weights waive wave waived waved waiver waver waivers wavers waives waves waiving waving wales whales Wales wails wales war wore ward warred Ware ware wear where wares wears where's waring wearing warn worn watcher wotcher watt what wot wattle what'll watts what's wax whacks way weigh whey Wayne wain wane ways weighs we wee we'd weed we'll weal wheel we've weave weak week weakly weekly weald wheeled wield wealds wields wheels Wear we're weir weather wether weathers wethers wees wheeze weld welled wen when wens when's were whir whirr wet whet wether whether wets whets wetted whetted wetting whetting which witch Whig wig Whigs wigs while wile whiled wild whiles wiles whin win whine wine whined wind wined whines wines whining wining whirl whorl whirled whorled world whirls whorls whirred word whirrs whirs whit wit whites wights whither wither who's whose whoa wo woe why y Wight white wight windlass windless won't wont wood would Y's whys wise yaws yours yoke yolk yokes yolks yore your you're you'll yuleFRENCH PHRASES
agent provocateur agents provocateurs aide-de-camp aides-de-camp billet-doux billets-doux cor anglais cors anglais corps de ballet corps de ballets coup de grace coups de grace coup d'etat coups d'etat enfant terrible enfants terribles fait accompli faits accomplis fianc_e fianc_ee fianc_ees fianc_es fleur-de-lys fleurs-de-lys Grand Prix Grands Prix nom de plume noms de plume nouveau riche nouveaux riches tour de force tours de force-MAN/-MEN COMPOUNDS
aircraftman aircraftmen airman airmen alderman aldermen anchorman anchormen backwoodsman backwoodsmen bandsman bandsmen batman batmen batsman batsmen boatman boatmen brakeman brakemen Bushman Bushmen busman busmen chairman chairmen chapman chapmen clansman clansmen clergyman clergymen congressman congressmen countryman countrymen cracksman cracksmen craftsman craftsmen cragsman cragsmen dalesman dalesmen draftsman draftsmen draughtsman dustman dustmen Dutchman Dutchmen Englishman Englishmen ex-serviceman ex-servicemen exciseman excisemen fieldsman fieldsmen fireman firemen fisherman fishermen footman footmen foreman foremen freedman freedmen freeman freemen Frenchman Frenchmen freshman freshmen frogman frogmen frontiersman frontiersmen gentleman gentlemen gentleman-at-arms gentlemen-at-arms groundsman groundsmen guardsman guardsmen gunman gunmen hangman hangmen helmsman helmsmen henchman henchmen herdsman herdsmen highwayman highwaymen horseman horsemen houseman housemen huntsman huntsmen husbandman husbandmen Indiaman Indiamen infantryman infantrymen Irishman Irishmen journeyman journeymen juryman jurymen kinsman kinsmen landsman landsmen layman laymen lineman linemen linesman linesmen longshoreman longshoremen madman madmen marksman marksmen merchantman merchantmen merman mermen midshipman midshipmen militiaman militiamen milkman milkmen motorman motormen night-watchman night-watchmen nobleman noblemen Northman Northmen nurseryman nurserymen patrolman patrolmen placeman placemen plainsman plainsmen ploughman ploughmen pointsman pointsmen policeman policemen postman postmen quarryman quarrymen raftsman raftsmen rifleman riflemen roundsman roundsmen salesman salesmen Scotchman Scotchmen Scotsman Scotsmen seaman seamen seedsman seedsmen showman showmen sidesman sidesmen signalman signalmen spokesman spokesmen sportsman sportsmen statesman statesmen steersman steersmen switchman switchmen swordsman swordsmen townsman townsmen tradesman tradesmen trencherman trenchermen tribesman tribesmen vestryman vestrymen watchman watchmen waterman watermen Welshman Welshmen yachtsman yachtsmen yeoman yeomen
First Publihsed by John Higgins, University of Stirling (retd.), 11 November, 1996. Last modified 16 December21.