mince, mints

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

The answer is simple: mince, mints are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To cut or chop into very small pieces.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To subdivide (land, for example) into minute parts.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To pronounce in an affected way, as with studied elegance and refinement.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To moderate or restrain (words) for the sake of politeness and decorum; euphemize: Don't mince words: say what you mean.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of mint.

  2. :: verb

    Third-person singular simple present indicative form of mint.

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").