lane, lain

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

The answer is simple: lane, lain are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb

    Past participle of lie1.

  1. :: noun

    A narrow country road.

  2. :: noun

    A narrow way or passage between walls, hedges, or fences.

  3. :: noun

    A narrow passage, course, or track, especially:

  4. :: noun

    A prescribed course for ships or aircraft.

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").