reeking, wreaking

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

The answer is simple: reeking, wreaking are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb

    Present participle of reek.

  2. :: adjective

    Totally stinking.

  1. :: verb

    Present participle of wreak.

  2. :: noun

    The act by which something is wreaked.

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").