cays, keys, quays

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

The answer is simple: cays, keys, quays are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of cat.

  2. :: noun

    Plural form of category.

  3. :: verb

    Third-person singular simple present indicative form of cat.

  1. :: noun

    A notched and grooved, usually metal implement that is turned to open or close a lock.

  2. :: noun

    A similar device used for opening or winding: the key of a clock; a can that has a key attached.

  3. :: noun

    A means of access, control, or possession.

  4. :: noun

    A vital, crucial element.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of quay.

Definitions from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, 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").