fey, fay

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

The answer is simple: fey, fay are homophones of the English language.

fay
  1. :: verb-transitive

    To join or fit closely or tightly.

  2. :: noun

    A fairy or an elf.

  3. :: noun

    Archaic Faith: "Sirrah, by my fay, it waxes late” ( Shakespeare).

fey
  1. :: adjective

    Having or displaying an otherworldly, magical, or fairylike aspect or quality: "She's got that fey look as though she's had breakfast with a leprechaun” ( Dorothy Burnham).

  2. :: adjective

    Having visionary power; clairvoyant.

  3. :: adjective

    Appearing touched or crazy, as if under a spell.

  4. :: adjective

    Scots Fated to die soon.

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").