abstinence, abstinents

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

The answer is simple: abstinence, abstinents are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    The act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite or desire, especially for alcoholic drink or sexual intercourse.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of abstinent.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 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").