tole, toll

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

The answer is simple: tole, toll are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A lacquered or enameled metalware, usually gilded and elaborately painted.

  1. :: noun

    A fixed charge or tax for a privilege, especially for passage across a bridge or along a road.

  2. :: noun

    A charge for a service, such as a long-distance telephone call.

  3. :: noun

    An amount or extent of loss or destruction, as of life, health, or property: "Poverty and inadequate health care take their toll on the quality of a community's health” ( Los Angeles Times).

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To exact as a toll.

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").