braid, brayed

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

The answer is simple: braid, brayed are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To interweave three or more strands, strips, or lengths of in a diagonally overlapping pattern: braided the rags into a strong rope.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To create (something) by such interweaving: braid a rug.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To style (the hair) by such interweaving.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To mingle (discrete elements, for example) as if by such interweaving: braided the ideas into a complex thesis.

  1. :: verb

    Past participle of bray

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").