rabbit, rabbet

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

The answer is simple: rabbit, rabbet are homophones of the English language.

rabbet
  1. :: noun

    A cut or groove along or near the edge of a piece of wood that allows another piece to fit into it to form a joint.

  2. :: noun

    A joint so made.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To cut a rabbet in.

  4. :: verb-transitive

    To join by a rabbet.

rabbit
  1. :: noun

    Any of various long-eared, short-tailed, burrowing mammals of the family Leporidae, as the commonly domesticated Old World species Oryctolagus cuniculus or the cottontail.

  2. :: noun

    A hare.

  3. :: noun

    The fur of a rabbit or hare.

  4. :: noun

    Sports A runner who intentionally sets a fast pace for a teammate during a long-distance race.

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").