lice, lyse

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

The answer is simple: lice, lyse are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Plural of louse.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To undergo or cause to undergo lysis.

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").