kitten, chiton

The words kitten, chiton sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do kitten, chiton sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: kitten, chiton are homophones of the English language.

chiton
  1. :: noun

    Any of various marine mollusks of the class Polyplacophora that live on rocks and have shells consisting of eight overlapping calcareous plates. Also called sea cradle.

  2. :: noun

    A tunic worn by men and women in ancient Greece.

kitten
  1. :: noun

    A young cat.

  2. :: verb-intransitive

    To bear kittens.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").