A homograph is one of a group of words that share the same spelling but have different meanings. When spoken, the meanings are sometimes, but not necessarily, distinguished by different pronunciations. A homograph can be either a homonym or a heteronym.


:(1):shift "n". (a change)
shift "n". (a period at work)
shift "v". (slang for 'move it')

In (1) all three words are identical in spelling and pronunciation (ie they are also homophones), but differ in meaning and function. These are commonly described as different senses of the same word, but if a word is regarded as a unique idea separate from its orthography and pronunciation then they are two different words.

:(2):read /riːd/ (present)
read /red/ (past)

(2) is an example of two words spelt identically but pronounced differently. Here confusion is not possible in spoken language.

Homograph disambiguation is critically important in speech synthesis, natural language processing and other fields.

In typography, "homograph" is sometimes used as a synomym for homoglyph.

More examples

ee also

* Homography, a concept in geometry. A homography matrix is sometimes known as a homograph.

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  • Homograph — Hom o*graph, n. [Gr. omo grafos with the same letters; omo s the same + gra fein to write.] (Philol.) One of two or more words identical in orthography, but having different derivations and meanings; as, fair, n., a market, and fair, a.,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Homograph — (v. gr.), ein von dem Franzosen Burnier erfundenes Instrument zum perspectivischen Zeichnen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • homograph — 1810, a method of signaling, from HOMO (Cf. homo ) (1) + GRAPH (Cf. graph). Meaning a word of identical spelling with another, but of different origin and meaning, is from 1873. Related: Homographic; homography …   Etymology dictionary

  • homograph — homograph, homonym, homophone Homonym is a generic term for a word having the same spelling or sound as another word but a different meaning. Homonyms are either homographs, words written the same way (e.g. bat denoting either an implement or an… …   Modern English usage

  • homograph — ► NOUN ▪ each of two or more words having the same spelling but different meanings and origins. DERIVATIVES homographic adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • homograph — [häm′ə graf΄, hō′məgraf΄] n. [ HOMO + GRAPH] a word with the same spelling as another or others but with a different meaning and origin, and, sometimes, a different pronunciation (Ex.: bow, the front part of a ship; bow, to bend; bow, a… …   English World dictionary

  • homograph — UK [ˈhɒməˌɡrɑːf] / US [ˈhɑməˌɡræf] / US [ˈhoʊməˌɡræf] noun [countable] Word forms homograph : singular homograph plural homographs linguistics a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning and sometimes a different… …   English dictionary

  • Homograph — Äquivokation, Homonymie und Polysemie Ein Homograph oder Homogramm ist ein Wort aus einer Gruppe von Wörtern, welche alle die gleiche Schreibweise, aber unterschiedliche Bedeutungen und häufig auch eine unterschiedliche Aussprache haben. Bei… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • homograph — See homonym, homograph, homophone …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • homograph — hom|o|graph [ˈhɔməgra:f, ˈhəu US ˈha:məgræf, ˈhou ] n technical [Date: 1800 1900; Origin: homo + Greek graphos written ] a word that is spelled the same as another, but is different in meaning, origin, grammar, or pronunciation. For example, the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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