sail, sale

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

The answer is simple: sail, sale are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Nautical The sails of a ship or boat.

  2. :: noun

    Nautical A piece of fabric sewn together and fitted to the spars and rigging of a vessel so as to convert the force of the wind into forward motion of the vessel.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    Nautical To voyage upon or across: sail the Pacific.

  4. :: noun

    Nautical The superstructure of a submarine.

  1. :: noun

    The exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent; the act of selling.

  2. :: noun

    An instance of selling.

  3. :: noun

    An opportunity for selling or being sold; demand.

  4. :: noun

    Availability for purchase: a store where pets are for sale.

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").