coolie, coolly, coulee

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

The answer is simple: coolie, coolly, coulee are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Offensive An unskilled Asian laborer.

  1. :: adverb

    In a cool, unpanicked or collected manner.

  1. :: noun

    Western U.S. A deep gulch or ravine with sloping sides, often dry in summer.

  2. :: noun

    Louisiana & Southern Mississippi A streambed, often dry according to the season.

  3. :: noun

    Louisiana & Southern Mississippi A small stream, bayou, or canal.

  4. :: noun

    Upper Midwest A valley with hills on either side.

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").