tales, tails

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

The answer is simple: tales, tails are homophones of the English language.

tails
  1. :: noun

    Plural form of tail.

  2. :: noun

    Short for tailcoat.

  3. :: noun

    The side of a coin that doesn't bear the picture of the head of state or similar

  4. :: noun

    tailings; waste

tales
  1. :: noun

    A group of people summoned to fill vacancies on a jury that has become deficient in number.

  2. :: noun

    The writ allowing for a summons of jurors.

Definitions from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, 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").