bare, bear

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

The answer is simple: bare, bear are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Lacking the usual or appropriate covering or clothing; naked: a bare arm.

  2. :: adjective

    Exposed to view; undisguised: bare fangs.

  3. :: adjective

    Lacking the usual furnishings, equipment, or decoration: bare walls.

  4. :: adjective

    Having no addition, adornment, or qualification: the bare facts. See Synonyms at empty.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To hold up; support.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To carry from one place to another; transport.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To carry in the mind; harbor: bear a grudge.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To transmit at large; relate: bearing glad tidings.

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").