lacks, lax

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

The answer is simple: lacks, lax are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: noun

    Plural form of lack.

  2. :: verb

    Third-person singular simple present indicative form of lack.

  1. :: adjective

    Lacking in rigor, strictness, or firmness. See Synonyms at negligent.

  2. :: adjective

    Not taut, firm, or compact; slack. See Synonyms at loose.

  3. :: adjective

    Loose and not easily retained or controlled. Used of bowel movements.

  4. :: adjective

    Linguistics Pronounced with the muscles of the tongue and jaw relatively relaxed, as the vowel (ĕ) in let.

Definitions from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, 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").