rancor, ranker

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

The answer is simple: rancor, ranker are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will. See Synonyms at enmity.

  1. :: noun

    Chiefly British An enlisted soldier.

  2. :: noun

    Chiefly British A commissioned officer who has been promoted from enlisted status.

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").