dental, dentil

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

The answer is simple: dental, dentil are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Of, relating to, or for the teeth: dental caps.

  2. :: adjective

    Of, relating to, or intended for dentistry: dental work; dental bills.

  3. :: adjective

    Linguistics Articulated with the tip of the tongue near or against the upper front teeth: the English dental consonants t and d.

  4. :: noun

    Linguistics A dental consonant.

  1. :: noun

    Architecture One of a series of small rectangular blocks projecting like teeth from a molding or beneath a cornice.

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").