plaice, place

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

The answer is simple: plaice, place are homophones of the English language.

place
  1. :: noun

    An area with definite or indefinite boundaries; a portion of space.

  2. :: noun

    Room or space, especially adequate space: There is place for everyone at the back of the room.

  3. :: noun

    The particular portion of space occupied by or allocated to a person or thing.

  4. :: noun

    A building or an area set aside for a specified purpose: a place of worship.

plaice
  1. :: noun

    A large edible marine flatfish (Pleuronectes platessa) of western European waters.

  2. :: noun

    Any of various flatfishes, such as Hippoglossoides platessoides of North American Atlantic waters, related to the plaice.

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").