gaiter, gator

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

The answer is simple: gaiter, gator are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A heavy cloth or leather covering for the leg extending from the instep to the ankle or knee.

  2. :: noun

    A similar covering of lightweight, moisture-resistant fabric, used by skiers and hikers.

  3. :: noun

    An ankle-high shoe with elastic sides.

  4. :: noun

    An overshoe with a cloth top.

  1. :: noun

    Informal An alligator.

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").