reave, reeve, rive

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

The answer is simple: reave, reeve, rive are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To seize and carry off forcibly.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To deprive (one) of something; bereave.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To rob, plunder, or pillage.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    Archaic To break or tear apart.

  1. :: noun

    The elected president of a town council in some parts of Canada.

  2. :: noun

    Any of various minor officers of parishes or other local authorities.

  3. :: noun

    A bailiff or steward of a manor in the later medieval period.

  4. :: noun

    A high officer of local administration appointed by the Anglo-Saxon kings.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To rend or tear apart.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To break into pieces, as by a blow; cleave or split asunder.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To break or distress (the spirit, for example).

  4. :: verb-intransitive

    To be or become split.

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").