10 Unusual Homographs

Following the lesson on 10 Common Homographs, today we are looking at unusual ones – like SEWER!

1. Polish.

This word can either refer to the nationality /ˈpəʊlɪʃ/ or to the act of rubbing something to make it clean and shiny /ˈpɒlɪʃ/.

Polish /ˈpəʊlɪʃ/ sausages are tastier than British sausages.
The floor was so well polished /ˈpɒlɪʃt/ you could see your face in it.

2. Sake

Sake /ˈsɑ:keɪ/ is the name of a Japanese rice wine. Sake /seɪk/ is a noun which refers to a reason or purpose.

Sake /ˈsɑ:keɪ/ is made from sake rice, water, and yeast.
Mr Milliband resigned for the sake /seɪk/ of the party.

3. Pate

The top of a person’s head is called a /peɪt/. Pate /ˈpæteɪ/ is a spreadable paste usually made of liver and fat.

His pate /peɪt/ was so bald it reflected the sun.
There’s nothing better than bread smothered in pate /ˈpæteɪ/.

4. Pasty

A pastry filled with savoury ingredients is called a pasty /ˈpæsti/. A person who looks pale is and unhealthy is sometimes called pasty /ˈpeɪsti/.

Fishermen once believed it unlucky to take a pasty /ˈpæsti/ onboard a ship.
I look a little pasty /ˈpeɪsti/ compared to the other holiday makers.

5. Bass

A low pitched instrument or voice is called bass /beɪs/. A common fresh water fish is called a bass /bæs/.

I’ve been playing bass /beɪs/ guitar for about ten years now.
North Wales is one of the best places in the UK to fish for bass /bæs/.

6. Sewer

An underground system for carrying human waste is called a sewer /ˈsu:wə/. A person who sews can be called a sewer /ˈsəʊwə/.

The old victorian sewers /ˈsu:wəz/ in Brighton are a major tourist attraction.
My grandmother was an excellent sewer /ˈsəʊwə/.

7. Resume

To start something again after stopping for short time is to /rɪˈzjuːm/. A document used to describe one’s skills and previous employment is called a resume /ˈrezumeɪ/.

I believe I’ll resume /rɪˈzjuːm/ work again after six months’ maternity leave.
In order to be considered, you must send us a recent resume /ˈrezu:meɪ/.

8. Slough

To slough /slʌf/ is the act of discarding a layer of something such as skin. Muddy grounds or swamps are sometimes referred to as sloughs /slæʊ/.

A snake sloughs /slʌfs/ it’s skin periodically.
Look out for the ferocious crocodiles in the slough /slæʊ/.

9. Appropriate

If something is suitable then it is thought to be appropriate /əˈprəʊpriət/. To appropriate /əˈprəʊprieɪt/ means to take possession of something, usually without permission.

Is my outfit appropriate /əˈprəʊpriət/ for the wedding?
The British Empire is responsible for appropriating /əˈprəʊprieɪtɪŋ/ vast amounts of goods.

10. Entrance

A doorway or an opening is called an entrance /ˈentrəns/. To hold someone’s interest or attention is to entrance /ɪnˈtrɑ:ns/ them.

The main entrance to the building is on your left.
The pianist’s performance will entrance the audience.

Homographs are covered in chapter 3 of ‘The Sound of English’ and covered on all accent reduction courses at Pronunciation Studio.

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