courtesy, curtesy

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

The answer is simple: courtesy, curtesy are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Polite behavior.

  2. :: noun

    A polite gesture or remark.

  3. :: noun

    Consent or agreement in spite of fact; indulgence: They call this pond a lake by courtesy only.

  4. :: noun

    Willingness or generosity in providing something needed: free advertising through the courtesy of the local newspaper.

  1. :: noun

    The life tenure that by common law is held by a man over the property of his deceased wife if children with rights of inheritance were born during the marriage.

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").