ball, bawl

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

The answer is simple: ball, bawl are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Vulgar Slang The testicles.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To form into a ball.

  3. :: noun

    A spherical object or entity: a steel ball.

  4. :: noun

    A spherical or almost spherical body: a ball of flame.

  1. :: verb-intransitive

    To cry or sob loudly; wail.

  2. :: verb-intransitive

    To cry out loudly and vehemently; shout.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To utter in a loud, vehement voice. See Synonyms at shout.

  4. :: noun

    A loud, bellowing cry; a wail.

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").