cyst, cist

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

The answer is simple: cyst, cist are homophones of the English language.

cist
  1. :: noun

    A wicker receptacle used in ancient Rome for carrying sacred utensils in a procession.

  2. :: noun

    A stone-lined grave, especially a tomb consisting of a pit lined with stones and often having a lid of stone or wood.

cyst
  1. :: noun

    Pathology An abnormal membranous sac containing a gaseous, liquid, or semisolid substance.

  2. :: noun

    Anatomy A sac or vesicle in the body.

  3. :: noun

    Biology A small capsulelike sac that encloses certain organisms in their dormant or larval stage.

  4. :: noun

    Botany A thick-walled resting spore, as in certain algae or fungi.

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").