phrase, fraise, frays

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

The answer is simple: phrase, fraise, frays are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    A defensive barrier of pointed inclined stakes or barbed wire.

  2. :: noun

    A ruff for the neck worn in the 16th century.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of fray.

  2. :: verb

    Third-person singular simple present indicative form of fray.

  1. :: noun

    A sequence of words intended to have meaning.

  2. :: noun

    A characteristic way or mode of expression.

  3. :: noun

    A brief, apt, and cogent expression.

  4. :: noun

    A word or group of words read or spoken as a unit and separated by pauses or other junctures.

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").