sell, cel, cell

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

The answer is simple: sell, cel, cell are homophones of the English language.

cel
  1. :: noun

    A piece of celluloid on which has been drawn a frame of an animated film.

cell
  1. :: noun

    A narrow confining room, as in a prison or convent.

  2. :: noun

    A small enclosed cavity or space, such as a compartment in a honeycomb or within a plant ovary or an area bordered by veins in an insect's wing.

  3. :: noun

    Biology The smallest structural unit of an organism that is capable of independent functioning, consisting of one or more nuclei, cytoplasm, and various organelles, all surrounded by a semipermeable cell membrane.

  4. :: noun

    Architecture See web.

sell
  1. :: verb-transitive

    To exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To offer for sale, as for one's business or livelihood: The partners sell textiles.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To give up or surrender in exchange for a price or reward: sell one's soul to the devil.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To be purchased in (a certain quantity); achieve sales of: a book that sold a million copies.

Definitions from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, 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").