counsel, council

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

The answer is simple: counsel, council are homophones of the English language.

council
  1. :: noun

    An assembly of persons called together for consultation, deliberation, or discussion.

  2. :: noun

    A body of people elected or appointed to serve as administrators, legislators, or advisors.

  3. :: noun

    An assembly of church officials and theologians convened for regulating matters of doctrine and discipline.

  4. :: noun

    The discussion or deliberation that takes place in such an assembly or body.

counsel
  1. :: noun

    The act of exchanging opinions and ideas; consultation.

  2. :: noun

    Advice or guidance, especially as solicited from a knowledgeable person. See Synonyms at advice.

  3. :: noun

    A plan of action.

  4. :: noun

    Private, guarded thoughts or opinions: keep one's own counsel.

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").