marten, martin

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

The answer is simple: marten, martin are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Any of several principally arboreal carnivorous mammals of the genus Martes, related to the weasel, mainly inhabiting northern forests, and having a slender body, bushy tail, and soft fur.

  2. :: noun

    The fur of one of these carnivorous mammals.

  1. :: noun

    Any of various swallows, such as the house martin or the purple martin.

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").