die, dye

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

The answer is simple: die, dye are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb-intransitive

    To cease living; become dead; expire.

  2. :: verb-intransitive

    To cease existing, especially by degrees; fade: The sunlight died in the west.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To experience an agony or suffering suggestive of that of death: nearly died of embarrassment.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    Informal To desire something greatly: I am dying for a box of chocolates. She was dying to see the exhibit.

  1. :: noun

    A substance used to color materials. Also called dyestuff.

  2. :: noun

    A color imparted by dyeing.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To color (a material), especially by soaking in a coloring solution.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To take on or impart color.

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").