homonyms

A Different Kind of Hetero…

I’m not talking about heterosexuals.

I’m talking about heteronyms.

And heteronyms are not to be mistaken with homonyms. Homonyms are those little mistakes we all make once in a while that seem to drive SOME people up the wall. I did it once and you would have thought I’d robbed a bank or something. But any idiot (and I include myself here) knows the difference between vile and vial (that was my mistake that an editor missed), vein and vane, or toad and towed. But I wouldn’t consider it a huge mistake. Sometimes we’re not thinking and we’re moving too fast (which is why we need good editors…or why our own editing skills need to be developed). The only thing wrong with making a mistake like this is when some pedantic asshole is rude enough to call attention to that mistake in public. Now that’s far worse, and far more low-end, than actually making the mistake.

But I digress once again (it’s so easy to do nowadays with so many bee-atches around). I’m not talking about homonyms here. I’m talking about another kind of nym. According to The Heteronym Page, A Heteronym is a word that has the same spelling as another word but with a different pronunciation and meaning. These words are sometimes also called homographs.

If you’re interested in words, it’s a fascinating web site. Here are a few examples:

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his post in the desert.

Santa is ready to present the present.

A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

And here’s a link to The Heteronym Page, with more examples and links to more articles about heteronyms.