foul, fowl

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

The answer is simple: foul, fowl are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Offensive to the senses; revolting.

  2. :: adjective

    Having an offensive odor; smelly.

  3. :: adjective

    Rotten or putrid: foul meat.

  4. :: adjective

    Full of dirt or mud; dirty. See Synonyms at dirty.

  1. :: noun

    Any of various birds of the order Galliformes, especially the common, widely domesticated chicken (Gallus gallus).

  2. :: noun

    A bird, such as the duck, goose, turkey, or pheasant, that is used as food or hunted as game.

  3. :: noun

    The flesh of such birds used as food.

  4. :: noun

    A bird of any kind.

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").