t, tea, tee, ti

The words t, tea, tee, ti sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do t, tea, tee, ti sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: t, tea, tee, ti are homophones of the English language.

t
  1. :: noun

    The 20th letter of the modern English alphabet.

  2. :: noun

    Any of the speech sounds represented by the letter t.

  3. :: noun

    The 20th in a series.

  4. :: noun

    Something shaped like the letter T.

tea
  1. :: noun

    An eastern Asian evergreen shrub or small tree (Camellia sinensis) having fragrant, nodding, cup-shaped white flowers and glossy leaves.

  2. :: noun

    The young, dried leaves of this plant, prepared by various processes and used to make a hot beverage.

  3. :: noun

    An aromatic, slightly bitter beverage made by steeping tea leaves in boiling water.

  4. :: noun

    Any of various beverages, made as by steeping the leaves of certain plants or by extracting an infusion especially from beef.

tee
  1. :: noun

    The letter t.

  2. :: noun

    Something shaped like a T.

  3. :: noun

    Sports & Games A mark aimed at in certain games, such as curling or quoits.

  4. :: idiom

    to a tee Perfectly; exactly: a plan that suits me to a tee.

ti
  1. :: noun

    Music The seventh tone in the diatonic scale in solfeggio.

  2. :: noun

    An eastern Asian tropical shrub (Cordyline terminalis) having a terminal tuft of long narrow leaves and panicles of white, yellowish, or reddish flowers.

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").