raining, reigning, reining

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

The answer is simple: raining, reigning, reining are homophones of the English language.

raining
  1. :: idiom

    rain cats and dogs Informal To rain very heavily.

  2. :: phrasal-verb

    rain out To force the cancellation or postponement of (an outdoor event) because of rain. Used in passive constructions: The ball game was rained out.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To give abundantly; shower: rain gifts; rain curses upon their heads.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To send or pour down.

reigning
  1. :: verb-intransitive

    To be predominant or prevalent: Panic reigned as the fire spread.

  2. :: verb-intransitive

    To hold the title of monarch, but with limited authority.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To exercise sovereign power.

  4. :: noun

    Dominance or widespread influence: the reign of reason.

reining
  1. :: idiom

    tight rein Close control: kept expenses on a tight rein.

  2. :: idiom

    free To release from restraints; allow to go unchecked: gave rein to her emotions.

  3. :: idiom

    draw in the reins To slow down or stop by or as if by pressure on the reins.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To control a horse, for example, with reins.

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

Share raining, reigning, reining

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").