carpal, carpel

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

The answer is simple: carpal, carpel are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Of, relating to, or near the carpus.

  2. :: noun

    A bone of the carpus.

  1. :: noun

    One of the structural units of a pistil, representing a modified, ovule-bearing leaf.

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").