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het·er·o·nym (het'er-o-nim') n. One of two or more words that have identical spellings but different meanings and pronunciations, such as row (a series of objects arranged in a line), pronounced (ro), and row (a fight), pronounced (rou). [Back-formation from heteronymous.]

The American Heritage Dictionary, Third Edition

Richard Lederer lists a number of heteronyms in his book Crazy English (1989). Circle the number of the one you are assigned.

  1. dove
  1. desert
  1. does
  1. entrance
  1. buffet
  1. object
  1. coax
  1. overage
  1. wind
  1. stingy
  1. lead
  1. bass
  1. sewer
  1. peaked
  1. moped
  1. bow
  1. converse
  1. present
  1. sake
  1. content
  1. coop

General Instructions

In your dictionary, find the two senses (meanings) with differing pronunciations that show your word to be a heteronym. Prepare parts 1 and 2 on separate sheets of paper, each headed with your name, the class name, the due date and the assignment name. Proofread your work for legibility, conciseness, spelling, punctuation, capitalization and completeness. After I return Part 1 to you, use it to improve your work in Part 2.

Specific Instructions

Part 1

    1. Write out the name of the dictionary you are using.
    2. Write out your assigned heteronym. Include the first pronunciation you found.
    3. Write out the first sense (meaning) you selected. Include its number.
    4. Use the word, in the sense above, in a concise properly written sentence.
    5. What part of speech does your word play in the sentence you wrote?

Part 2

The instructions for Part 2 are the same as those for Part 1. However use the second pronunciation and sense (meaning) you found when you do 2, 3 and 4.


  1. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary

Part 1

    1. minute (min'it)
    2. 1 : a 60th part of an hour or of a degree : 60 seconds
    3. He was so anxious, each minute seemed like an hour.
    4. noun

Part 2

    1. minute (mi-noot)
    2. 1 : very small : INFINITESIMAL
    3. Given the minute servings, the restaurant’s prices seemed high.
    4. adjective

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original web posting: Monday, October 22, 2001
last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2005