The words prior, pryer sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do prior, pryer sound the same even though they are completely different words?
The answer is simple: prior, pryer are homophones of the English language.
Preceding, as in the order of time, of thought, of origin, of dignity, or of importance; in <em>law</em>, senior in point of time: as, a <em>prior</em> and a junior incumbrance.
Previous: used adverbially, followed by <em>to</em>, like <internalXref urlencoded="previous">previous</internalXref>. See <internalXref urlencoded="previous">previous</internalXref>, a.
A superior officer; a superior.
Formerly, in Italy, a chief magistrate, as in the medieval republic of Florence.
See <internalXref urlencoded="prier">prier</internalXref>.
A person who <xref>pries</xref>.
Definitions from The Century Dictionary., from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition., from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. and Wordnik.
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").