cozen, cousin

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

The answer is simple: cozen, cousin are homophones of the English language.

cousin
  1. :: noun

    A child of one's aunt or uncle. Also called first cousin.

  2. :: noun

    A relative descended from a common ancestor, such as a grandparent, by two or more steps in a diverging line.

  3. :: noun

    A relative by blood or marriage; a kinsman or kinswoman.

  4. :: noun

    A member of a kindred group or country: our Canadian cousins.

cozen
  1. :: verb-transitive

    To mislead by means of a petty trick or fraud; deceive.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To persuade or induce to do something by cajoling or wheedling.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To obtain by deceit or persuasion.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To act deceitfully.

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").