Homographs - Definition and Examples

Can you get me a can of water? Did you notice something? Is the word ‘can’ being used twice in the same sentence? Do you think it means the same thing?

In the English language, homographs, like homophones, belong to the broad category called homonyms. Though they might appear to be a little confusing, you can have a lot of fun learning and using them in your sentences. Trying to analyse how these words function and can be used will help you with your vocabulary and language development as a whole. In this article, you will get to know all about homographs. The following topics will be discussed in this article.

Table of Contents

What Are Homographs?

The word ‘homograph’ has been derived from the Greek word “homosgraphos”, which means having the same written form as another. In simple terms, homographs are those words that have the same spelling but completely different meanings.

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a homograph is defined as “a word that is spelt like another word but has a different meaning from it, and may have a different pronunciation.” Take a look at some examples to understand how each homograph has different meanings, and how they belong to different parts of speech and perform different functions.

Examples of Homographs

Here is a list of the most common homographs that can be used in everyday language. Check out the following table.

Homograph Part of Speech Meaning Sentence Example
Can Noun A container Salvia stored dry flowers in a can.
Verb Being able to do something I am sure I can do it.
Date Noun A day in a month or a year Do you remember the date and year of our graduation?
Noun A sweet fruit I have two dates everyday in the morning on an empty stomach.
Band Noun A group of musicians The band played at the inaugural ceremony of the award function.
Noun A strip of material tied around something Bibin tied a friendship band for his brother.
Saw Noun A tool used to cut wood or metal My father needed a saw to cut the wood into multiple pieces.
Verb To look at something around you My cousin told me that he saw a Porsche today.
Ruler Noun Someone who rules a kingdom Who is the first Mughal ruler?
Noun A long, narrow piece of wood, steel or plastic that is flat and used to measure things or draw straight lines The maths teacher taught the students how to use a ruler to measure and draw lines.
Rose Noun A flower My mom gave me a bunch of orange roses for my birthday.
Verb To come up His friend rose to the occasion and helped them out.
Bark Noun The outer portion of a tree I used the bark of the pine tree to make some interior decor for our house.
Verb A loud noise made by the dog Nobody knew why the dog kept barking even after the owner gave him food.
Fall Noun A season of the year, otherwise known as autumn The colours brown and yellow represent the fall season.
Verb To go down She was about to fall down.
Ship Noun A large or big boat that is used to carry passengers or goods My children were so excited to witness two ships crossing at the same time.
Verb To send something by ship or some kind of transport The dealers informed me that the orders that have been placed already will be shipped within a day or two.
Park Noun A large area of land that is mostly used for children to play or for people to walk There is a children’s park in our area.
Verb To leave or stage the vehicle somewhere for a period of time My cousin has become an expert now. She parks the car without any sort of confusion.
Spring Noun A season of the year Spring is my favourite season.
Verb To jump or move suddenly or quickly Tim will spring up in excitement when he hears of your victory.
File Noun A case to keep some documents together and safely Do you have a file to carry all your original certificates?
Verb To keep something in a particular place You have to file it if you want it to be safe.
Wave Noun Water that moves across the surface of the water My son was excited to see the waves.
Verb To move your hands from side to side My pet dog waved his hand the moment he saw my mom.
Well Noun A large, deep hole in the ground that carries water which can be used for domestic purposes There is a very deep well in our old house.
Adverb Something that is done in a good way Do you know him well?
Adjective To be in a good state I am well.
Trip Noun A leisure journey When are you going on that Bangalore trip you have been planning for months?
Verb An action of nearly falling as a result of your foot catching on something He tripped and fell.
Tie Noun A long piece of cloth with a knot in front that is used to wear around the neck Mia’s father does not like to wear a tie.
Verb To fasten something or someone with a rope or a string My brother helped me tie my shoelace.
Drink Noun Some liquid that quenches your thirst Would you like to have a drink?
Verb To have something liquid that quenches your thirst What would you like to drink?
Orange Noun A fruit My nephew likes oranges.
Adjective A colour We were asked to wear an orange dress for the party.
Point Noun A specific/particular idea, thought or opinion that someone is expressing What is the point you are trying to make?
Noun The most important piece of information or what is being said/discussed The whole point of this meeting was to discuss the future business prospects.
Verb To show or draw attention to something by using your finger or some object like a stick Will you be able to point out what exactly  the problem here is?
Fly Noun An insect A fly was continuously passing in front of my eyes.
Verb The action of moving through air Did you know that peacocks can fly?
Palm Noun The inner part of your hand I know her like the palm of my hand.
Noun A tall, straight tree There is a farm full of palm trees on the way to my home.
Drop Noun A very small amount of liquid I added a drop of honey to my lemon tea.
Verb To fall or let something fall down She said that she dropped the glass bowl by mistake.
Letter Noun A written or printed document for formal and informal purposes Jancy wrote a letter to her mom.
Noun Another word to refer to an alphabet or a symbol She writes the letter ‘S’ beautifully.
Left Adjective The left side or direction Her father has severe pain in his left knee.
Verb To move or go away from someone or something permanently or for a short period of time We left the hall around 12 p.m.
Adverb To move to the left side She jumped to the left instead of jumping to the right side.

Exercises on Homographs

Fill in the gaps with correct homographs by choosing the most suitable option from the homographs given below.

(bark, book, left, match, sink, bank, rig, band, well, watch)

  1. The boy ____ the match in between due to the injury.
  2. What is the time on your ____?
  3. The ____ of the mango tree is very hard.
  4. Tina has performed ____ in the exam.
  5. My brother gave me a diamond ___.
  6. There was a ____ between KKR and RCB.
  7. Can you please ____ the tickets for me?
  8. SBI is the largest ____ in India.
  9. Please keep the dishes in the ____.
  10. The Beatles were the most popular ____ of our times.


  1. The boy left the match in between due to the injury.
  2. What is the time on your watch?
  3. The bark of the mango tree is very hard.
  4. Tina has performed well in the exam.
  5. My brother gave me a diamond ring.
  6. There was a match between KKR and RCB.
  7. Can you please book the tickets for me?
  8. SBI is the largest bank in India.
  9. Please keep the dishes in the sink.
  10. The Beatles were the most popular band of our times.

Frequently Asked Questions on Homographs


What are homographs?

The word homographs has been derived from the Greek word “homosgrapho”, where ‘homos’ means same, and ‘grapho’ means to write. Thus homographs are those words that have the same spellings but completely different meanings.


What are homophones?

Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. Here the word ‘phone’ means sound, and the word ‘homo’ means the same/similar sound.


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