coaming, combing

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

The answer is simple: coaming, combing are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Nautical A raised rim or border around an opening, as in a ship's deck, designed to keep out water.

  1. :: verb

    Present participle of comb.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 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").