English Homonyms


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What are Homonyms?

Homonyms are words that have the same spelling and the same pronunciation, but have different definitions depending on the context. In this lesson, you’ll learn 7 common English homonyms and their definitions with example sentences.

light

Definition 1 (adjective) – Opposite of dark

Melissa has green eyes and light brown hair.

Definition 2 (adjective) – Opposite of heavy

“Do you want me to carry your suitcase?”
“No, that’s OK – it’s pretty light. I didn’t pack that much stuff.”

trip

Definition 1 (noun) – A travel experience

I’m taking a business trip to Athens next month.

Definition 2 (verb) – When your foot hits an object, and you lose balance and fall

“How did you break your leg?”
“I tripped over my computer cord and fell down the stairs.”

change

Definition 1 (verb) – To transform / (noun) A transformation

Social networking sites have changed the way people interact.

Definition 2 (noun) – The money you receive back after paying more than an item costs

“That’ll be six dollars.”
“Here’s ten.”
“Four dollars is your change – and here’s your receipt. Have a nice day!”

duck

Definition 1 (noun) – A type of bird that likes to swim in water

The kids like to feed the ducks in the pond at the park.

Definition 2 (verb) – to put your head/body down quickly – often in response to some danger

My brother threw a pillow at my head, but I ducked so it didn’t hit me.

bank

Definition 1 (noun) – A place to keep your money

I need to go to the bank to deposit these checks.

Definition 2 (noun) – The inclined land on the edge of a river = “river bank”

He sat down on the river bank and began to unpack his fishing gear.
(“gear” = equipment)

wave

Definition 1 (noun) – When the water of the ocean rises and crashes down on the beach

The waves at this beach are pretty big. They can knock you down if you’re not careful.

Definition 2 (verb) – To greet or say goodbye to someone by moving your hand

I waved goodbye to my mother as the train pulled out of the station.

sink

Definition 1 (noun) – A place in the kitchen where you wash your dishes

Don’t leave your dirty plates on the table – put them in the sink, please.

Definition 2 (verb) – To go under the surface of the water, down to the bottom

Fifteen hundred people died when the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg.

Many English words have multiple meanings. However, we understand each word from the context in which it is used.

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