chilly, chili

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

The answer is simple: chilly, chili are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    The pungent fresh or dried fruit of any of several cultivated varieties of capsicum, used especially as a flavoring in cooking. Also called chili pepper.

  2. :: noun

    Chili con carne.

  1. :: adjective

    Cool or cold enough to cause shivering. See Synonyms at cold.

  2. :: adjective

    Seized with or feeling cold; shivering.

  3. :: adjective

    Distant and cool; unfriendly: a chilly look.

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").