beetle, betel

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

The answer is simple: beetle, betel are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Any of numerous insects of the order Coleoptera, having biting mouthparts and forewings modified to form horny coverings that protect the underlying pair of membranous hind wings when at rest.

  2. :: noun

    An insect resembling a member of the order Coleoptera.

  3. :: verb-intransitive

    To make one's way or move like a beetle: "Chambermaids . . . beetled from bedroom to bedroom loaded with . . . champagne” ( Vanity Fair).

  4. :: adjective

    Jutting; overhanging: beetle brows.

  1. :: noun

    An evergreen Indo-Malayan climbing or trailing shrub (Piper betle), having usually ovate leaves used to wrap betel nuts.

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").