dean, dene

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

The answer is simple: dean, dene are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    An administrative officer in charge of a college, faculty, or division in a university.

  2. :: noun

    An officer of a college or high school who counsels students and supervises the enforcement of rules.

  3. :: noun

    Ecclesiastical The head of the chapter of canons governing a cathedral or collegiate church.

  4. :: noun

    Roman Catholic Church A priest appointed to oversee a group of parishes within a diocese.

  1. :: noun

    Chiefly British A sandy tract or dune by the seashore.

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").