saccharin, saccharine

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

The answer is simple: saccharin, saccharine are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A white crystalline powder, C7H5NO3S, having a taste about 500 times sweeter than cane sugar, used as a calorie-free sweetener.

  1. :: adjective

    Of, relating to, or characteristic of sugar or saccharin; sweet.

  2. :: adjective

    Having a cloyingly sweet attitude, tone, or character: a saccharine smile.

  3. :: adjective

    Excessively sentimental: "It was enough for him to rely on sentiment . . . and saccharine assertions about The Home” ( Kate Millett).

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").