tare, tear

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

The answer is simple: tare, tear are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Any of various weedy plants of the genus Vicia, especially the common vetch.

  2. :: noun

    Any of several weedy plants that grow in grain fields.

  3. :: noun

    An unwelcome or objectionable element.

  4. :: noun

    The weight of a container or wrapper that is deducted from the gross weight to obtain net weight.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To pull apart or into pieces by force; rend.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To make (an opening) by ripping: tore a hole in my stocking.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To lacerate (the skin, for example).

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To separate forcefully; wrench: tore the wrappings off the present.

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").