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to bow [bau], v. bow [bqu], п.

to incline the head or body in salutation a flexible strip of wood for propelling arrows

to lead [li:d],v.to conduct on the way, go before to show the way - a heavy, rather soft metal

lead [led], n. to tear [teq], v.

tear [tie], n.

to pull apart or in pieces by force

a drop of the fluid secreted by the lacrinial glands of the eye

Sources of Homonyms

One source of homonyms has already been mentioned: phonetic changes which words undergo in the course of their historical development. As a result of such changes, two or more words which were formerly pronounced differently may develop identical sound forms and thus become homonyms.

Night and knight, for instance, were not homonyms in Old English as the initial k in the second word was pronounced, and not dropped as it is in its modern sound form: О.Е. kniht (cf. О.Е. niht). A more complicated change of form brought together another pair of homonyms: to knead (О.Е. cnēdan) and to need (О.Е. odian).

In Old English the verb to write had the form writan, and the adjective right had the forms reht, riht. The noun sea descends from the Old English form sæ, and the verb to see from О. Е. sēon. The noun work and the verb to work also had different forms in Old English: wyrkean and weork respectively.

Borrowing is another source of homonyms. A borrowed word may, in the final stage of its phonetic


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