straighten, straiten

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

The answer is simple: straighten, straiten are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To make or become straight or straighter.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To make narrow.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To enclose in a limited area; confine.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To put or bring into difficulties or distress, especially financial hardship.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    Archaic To restrict in latitude or scope.

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").