descendant, descendent

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

The answer is simple: descendant, descendent are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A person, animal, or plant whose descent can be traced to a particular individual or group.

  2. :: noun

    Something derived from a prototype or earlier form: Today's bicycles are descendants of the earlier velocipede.

  3. :: noun

    In astrology, the point of the ecliptic or the sign of the zodiac that sets in the west at the time of a person's birth or other event.

  4. :: adjective

    Variant of descendent.

  1. :: adjective

    Moving downward; descending.

  2. :: adjective

    Proceeding by descent from an ancestor.

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").