bait, bate

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

The answer is simple: bait, bate are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Food or other lure placed on a hook or in a trap and used in the taking of fish, birds, or other animals.

  2. :: noun

    Something, such as a worm, used for this purpose.

  3. :: noun

    An enticement; a temptation.

  4. :: noun

    Archaic A stop for food or rest during a trip.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To lessen the force or intensity of; moderate: "To his dying day he bated his breath a little when he told the story” ( George Eliot). See Usage Note at bait1.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To take away; subtract.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To flap the wings wildly or frantically. Used of a falcon.

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").