baroness, barrenness

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

The answer is simple: baroness, barrenness are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    The wife or widow of a baron.

  2. :: noun

    A woman holding the title to a barony.

  3. :: noun

    Used as the title for such a noblewoman.

  1. :: noun

    The property of being barren; the property of not supporting life.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 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").