shake, sheik(h)

The words shake, sheik(h) sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do shake, sheik(h) sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: shake, sheik(h) are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A fissure in rock.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To cause to move to and fro with jerky movements.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To cause to quiver, tremble, vibrate, or rock.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To cause to lose stability or waver: a crisis that shook my deepest beliefs.

  1. :: noun

    Islam A religious official.

  2. :: noun

    Islam A leader of an Arab family or village.

  3. :: noun

    Islam Used as a form of address for such an official or leader.

  4. :: noun

    Slang A romantically alluring man.

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").