Cover image for Homophones and homographs : an American dictionary
Homophones and homographs : an American dictionary
Hobbs, James B., 1930-
Personal Author:
Third edition.
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 1999.
Physical Description:
318 pages ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE2833 .H63 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This expanded third edition defines and cross-references 7,870 homophones and 1,554 homographs (up from 7,000 and 1,400 in the 2d ed.).As the most comprehensive compilation of American homophones (words that sound alike) and homographs (look-alikes), this latest edition serves well where even the most modern spell-checkers and word processors fail--although rain, reign, and rein may be spelled correctly, the context in which these words may appropriately be used is not obvious to a computer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Expanded edition defines and cross-references 7,781 homophones and 1,552 homographs, up from 7,000 and 1,400 in the previous edition.

Library Journal Review

Readers may be familiar with homonyms, which are words with different meanings that are pronounced and spelled the same way (such as plane, which as a verb can mean to make smooth or to soar in the air and as a noun can mean a level, a type of tree, or a means of transportation). The less familiar homophones are words with different meanings and spellings that sound alike (raise, rays, and raze) or nearly alike (accept and except). And homographs look alike but are pronounced differently (minute, a unit of time, vs. minute, very small). Hobbs developed this valuable resource, first published in 1986, after helping a friend's child generate hundreds of homophones for a contest. The bulk of it is devoted to 7,781 homophones arranged in alphabetical order, followed by 1,552 homographs, also in alphabetical order and aided by See references. Typical entries feature a one- or two-sentence definition, and entries for homographs include pronunciation information. The annotated bibliography is more than seven excellent pages in length, but the nine-page appendix is a confusing array of homophones, homographs, and words that function as both. Useful for larger collections, wordsmiths, spelling enthusiasts, and punsters.√ĄElizabeth Connor, Medical Univ. of South California, Charleston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A dictionary of the two types of homonyms: homophones (words spelled differently but pronounced alike-right, rite, wright, write) and homographs (words spelled alike but pronounced differently-close=klo-s, klo-z). Homophones were identified in accordance with standard American pronunciation, hence the subtitle. Many of the more obscure entries were located by ``a thorough, systematic, cover-to-cover examination ... of the unabridged Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language (1961).'' Hobbs strikes a good balance between scholarship and readability. In addition to the dictionary lists, he includes a practical introductory discussion and a substantial annotated bibliography. A good choice for general and lower-level academic collections, Homophones and Homographs might well stimulate a latent interest in language on the part of a student of any age.-W.P. Hogan, Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 1
Overview of Homophones and Homographsp. 5
Definitionsp. 5
The "Conflict of Homophones" Controversyp. 7
Criteria for Including and Excluding Wordsp. 8
Notational Devices and Phonetic Symbolsp. 9
Organization of this Dictionaryp. 12
Two final thoughtsp. 13
Homophonesp. 15
Homographsp. 259
Appendix Unusual Groupingsp. 301
Homophonesp. 301
Four of More One-Syllable Wordsp. 301
Three or More Two-Syllable Wordsp. 302
Three or More Three-Syllable Wordsp. 304
All Four-, Five-, and Six-Syllable Wordsp. 305
Homographs (three or more words)p. 306
Homophones and Homographs (all words)p. 307
Annotated Bibliographyp. 311