Homonyms are words that sound just alike, yet are spelled differently and have completely different meanings. These words are easily confused by many people, even writers. How many of the following words did you realize were homonyms? Please realize, I don't give every meaning for each word. Consult your dictionary for a complete understanding of each word.
coarse and course
If an item is rough or lacking in fineness, it is coarse.
The coarse fabric the sweater was made out of caused her skin to itch.
A course is the route along which something moves.
The river's course went through the middle of the field behind our house.
coat and cote
When it is cold out, we put on a coat to keep warm.
One brutally cold winter day, Sharon had compassion for the homeless woman and gave her the coat she had just bought.
A cote is a coop for pigeons or a small shed for animals. In British dialect, it is a cottage or small house.
Maureen had to clean out the sheep's cote every day.
coddling and codling
Coddling means to treat tenderly. It also means to cook eggs, fruit, or some other food in water that is just below the boiling point.
Jessie was in the habit of coddling her children.
A codling is an unripe, half-grown apple.
The goats like to eat codlings that fall to the ground.
coffer and cougher
A coffer is a box or chest, especially one to store valuables in.
Rebecca locked the coffer that held her jewels and hid it amidst the books on the shelves.
A cougher is one who coughs.
Chainsmoking turned Barry into a cougher.
coin and quoin
A coin is a piece of money.
Anytime Melinda sees a coin on the ground, she picks it up.
A quoin is a wedge-shaped piece of wood or a cornerstone.
The quoin was used to keep the door from closing.
colonel and kernel
A colonel is a military officer. It is also an honorary title bestowed by some Southern states.
Kyle made such a high score on his GED that he was made a Kentucky colonel.
A kernel is a seed, the central or most important part of anything.
Matt planted the kernels of corn in his garden.
complacence and complaisance
Complacence is self-satisfaction.
Brittany had so much complacence about her ability to pass the test that she neglected to study.
Complaisance is willingness to please.
Sheba's complaisance makes her the perfect dog to have around children.
complacent and complaisant
Complacent means self-satisfied.
His complacent attitude about paying his speeding tickets caused him to lose his license.
Complaisant means inclined to please.
Her complaisant character made her the teacher's pet.
complement and compliment
A complement is something that completes or makes perfect.
The husband's imagination complemented his wife's ability to write, so they made the perfect team.
A compliment is an expression of praise.
May I compliment you on the excellent dinner you prepared?