lied, lead, lede

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

The answer is simple: lied, lead, lede are homophones of the English language.

lead
  1. :: noun

    A leash.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To show the way to by going in advance.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To guide or direct in a course: lead a horse by the halter. See Synonyms at guide.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To serve as a route for; take: The path led them to a cemetery.

lede
  1. :: noun

    A man; person.

  2. :: noun

    Men; people, folk.

  3. :: noun

    A people or nation.

  4. :: noun

    Tenements; holdings; possessions.

lied
  1. :: noun

    A German art song for solo voice and piano.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 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").