praying, preying

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

The answer is simple: praying, preying are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Of or pertaining to prayer.

  2. :: noun

    An act of saying a prayer.

  3. :: verb

    Present participle of pray.

  1. :: verb

    Present participle of prey.

Definitions 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").