fain, fane, feign

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

The answer is simple: fain, fane, feign are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adverb

    Happily; gladly: "I would fain improve every opportunity to wonder and worship, as a sunflower welcomes the light” ( Henry David Thoreau).

  2. :: adverb

    Archaic Preferably; rather.

  3. :: adjective

    Archaic Ready; willing.

  4. :: adjective

    Archaic Pleased; happy.

  1. :: noun

    A temple or sacred place.

  2. :: noun

    A weathercock, a weather vane.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To give a false appearance of: feign sleep.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To represent falsely; pretend to: feign authorship of a novel.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To imitate so as to deceive: feign another's voice.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To fabricate: feigned an excuse.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 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").