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Annie Y.

asked • 07/12/16

guide/heavy metal: homonym/homograph

i really cant think of the word for these 2 neither can i for the other question

1 Expert Answer


Philip P. answered • 07/12/16

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Annie Y.

Thank you so much!! 


Ed M.

As I explained in my comment on your "other question" (i.e., about gnaws and select), lead with the two meanings that Philip P. offered would be homographic but not homonymic, i.e., the two words are spelled the same but in addition to the different meanings they have contrasting pronunciations for these two meanings (different vowels, to be exact).
But lead in the sense of 'to guide' and lead referring to a clue or opportunity would be homonyms since they're both pronounced the same (homophones) and written identically (homographs).
And to round this out, it's interesting that the irregular simple past tense form of the verb lead is led, which would then be a homophone (but not a homonym due to the different spelling) of the common English name that Philip mentioned for the chemical element Pb. (Sometimes I even see people write lead where the context makes it clear they're using the past tense of the verb, e.g., This lead me to conclude . . . , no doubt because they have in mind both the spelling and pronunciation of the metal.)


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