hostel, hostile

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

The answer is simple: hostel, hostile are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A supervised, inexpensive lodging place for travelers, especially young travelers.

  2. :: noun

    An inn; a hotel.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To stay at hostels while traveling.

  1. :: adjective

    Of, relating to, or characteristic of an enemy: hostile forces; hostile acts.

  2. :: adjective

    Feeling or showing enmity or ill will; antagonistic: a hostile remark.

  3. :: adjective

    Unfavorable to health or well-being; inhospitable or adverse: a hostile climate.

  4. :: noun

    An antagonistic person or thing.

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").