ewes, use, yews

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

The answer is simple: ewes, use, yews are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of ewe.

  1. :: phrasal-verb

    use up To consume completely: used up all our money.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To put into service or apply for a purpose; employ.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To avail oneself of; practice: use caution.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To conduct oneself toward; treat or handle: "the peace offering of a man who once used you unkindly” ( Laurence Sterne).

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of yew.

Definitions from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, 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").