gray, grey

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

The answer is simple: gray, grey are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Of or relating to an achromatic color of any lightness between the extremes of black and white.

  2. :: adjective

    Dull or dark: a gray, rainy afternoon.

  3. :: adjective

    Lacking in cheer; gloomy: a gray mood.

  4. :: adjective

    Having gray hair; hoary.

  1. :: adjective

    Variant of gray1.

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").