incidence, incidents

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

The answer is simple: incidence, incidents are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    The act or an instance of happening; occurrence: did not expect criticism and was surprised by its incidence.

  2. :: noun

    Extent or frequency of occurrence: a high incidence of malaria in the tropics.

  3. :: noun

    Physics The arrival of radiation or a projectile at a surface.

  4. :: noun

    Physics Angle of incidence.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of incident.

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").