taught, taut

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

The answer is simple: taught, taut are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: verb

    Past tense and past participle of teach.

  1. :: adjective

    Pulled or drawn tight; not slack. See Synonyms at tight.

  2. :: adjective

    Strained; tense: nerves taut with anxiety.

  3. :: adjective

    Kept in trim shape; neat and tidy.

  4. :: adjective

    Marked by the efficient, sparing, or concise use of something, such as language or detail: a taut movie script.

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").