vial, vile, viol

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

The answer is simple: vial, vile, viol are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A small container, usually with a closure, used especially for liquids.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To put or keep in or as if in a vial.

  1. :: adjective

    Loathsome; disgusting: vile language.

  2. :: adjective

    Unpleasant or objectionable: vile weather. See Synonyms at offensive.

  3. :: adjective

    Contemptibly low in worth or account; second-rate.

  4. :: adjective

    Of mean or low condition.

  1. :: noun

    Any of a family of stringed instruments, chiefly of the 16th and 17th centuries, having a fretted fingerboard, usually six strings, and a flat back and played with a curved bow.

  2. :: noun

    See viola da gamba.

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").