Homophones and Homographs: An American Dictionary

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9780899507767: Homophones and Homographs: An American Dictionary

This expanded fourth edition defines and cross-references 9,040 homophones and 2,133 homographs (up from 7,870 and 1,554 in the 3rd ed.). As the most comprehensive compilation of American homophones (words that sound alike) and homographs (look-alikes), this latest edition serves well where even the most modern spell-checkers and word processors fail—although rain, reign, and rein may be spelled correctly, the context in which these words may appropriately be used is not obvious to a computer.

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About the Author:

James B. Hobbs is professor emeritus at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania.

From Booklist:

Homophones and homographs are words that have different meanings: homophones sound alike but are spelled differently, and homographs are spelled the same but pronounced differently. A second-grade homework assignment to see who could generate the largest list of homophones ignited an interest that inspired the first edition of this dictionary (1986). This new edition follows the same plan as the first but includes 7,149 homophones and 1,469 homographs, almost twice as many as the earlier edition. Some additions reflect changes in society (e.g., AIDS), others represent increased awareness of other-than-Anglo cultures (hombre, khan). A few entries were dropped; for example, words not considered sufficiently homophonous (marry, merry).

Homophones and homographs are listed in separate alphabetical sections, with brief definitions and, in the case of homographs, phonetic respelling. Cross-references connect homophones when they do not come together alphabetically (e.g., phew and few). Words that are both homophones and homographs are underlined.

The basis for some entries and cross-references is hard to see. Suite is given as a homophone of Sioux and sue. The entry kamma says "see comma," which makes sense, but when one looks under comma the note says "see comedia," which does not. Some bad page breaks separate related words. For example, Swedish and sweetish are on different pages.

The body of the work is preceded by an overview that includes a table showing the eight ways words can be related to each other as to sound, spelling, and meaning (e.g., homonyms, synonyms). An appendix lists unusual groupings; for example, all four-, five-, and six-syllable homophones. An extensive annotated bibliography serves both to document the sources of the book and to direct the reader to other information.

Libraries serving writers and students should consider this purchase, even if they own the 1986 edition, as the amount of material added is considerable.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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