suede, swayed

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

The answer is simple: suede, swayed are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Leather with a soft napped surface.

  2. :: noun

    Fabric made to resemble suede.

  1. :: verb

    Simple past tense and past participle of sway.

  2. :: adjective

    Bent backwards, as in swayback

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, 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").