hew, hue

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

The answer is simple: hew, hue are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To make or shape with or as if with an ax: hew a path through the underbrush.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To cut down with an ax; fell: hew an oak.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To strike or cut; cleave.

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To cut something by repeated blows, as of an ax.

  1. :: noun

    The property of colors by which they can be perceived as ranging from red through yellow, green, and blue, as determined by the dominant wavelength of the light. See Table at color.

  2. :: noun

    A particular gradation of color; a shade or tint.

  3. :: noun

    Color: all the hues of the rainbow.

  4. :: noun

    Appearance; aspect: a man of somber hue.

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").