oh, owe

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

The answer is simple: oh, owe are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: interjection

    Used to express strong emotion, such as surprise, fear, anger, or pain.

  2. :: interjection

    Used in direct address: Oh, sir! You forgot your keys.

  3. :: interjection

    Used to indicate understanding or acknowledgment of a statement.

  4. :: noun


  1. :: verb-transitive

    To be indebted to the amount of: He owes me five dollars.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To have a moral obligation to render or offer: I owe them an apology.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To be in debt to: We owe the plumber for services rendered.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To be indebted or obliged for: owed their riches to oil; owes her good health to diet and exercise.

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").