payed, paid

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

The answer is simple: payed, paid are homophones of the English language.

paid
  1. :: verb

    Past tense and past participle of pay1.

  2. :: verb

    Nautical A past tense and a past participle of pay2.

payed
  1. :: verb

    A past tense and a past participle of pay1.

  2. :: verb

    A past tense and a past participle of pay2.

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").