Vocabulary: Homophones

Homophones are everywhere. You know puns? They are punny. Here is a list of some common homophones in Nepali. A homophone is a group of word which sound (almost) the same but have different meanings and have different spellings. For example, new and knew, euthanasia and youth in Asia

Homophones are called ‘श्रुतिसमभिन्नार्थक शब्द’ (shrutisambhinarthak sabda) in Nepali.

अन्न (anna) = Grain; Crop

 अन्य (anya) = Other than; other


आँट (aaT)= Courage; bravery

आँत (aat) = the part Inside of the body 

Note: The above one has a retroflex ’t’ sound, the one in the bottom has a dental ’t’ sound


आधी (aadhi) = Half

आँधी (aadhi) = Storm

आदि (aadi) = Early; Former; the first

Note: The second one has a nasalized ‘aa’. As for the third ‘aadi’, an example sentence (it’s use is a bit vague) would be: ‘Nibandha ko aadibhag ma bhumika khanda huncha’ (The first part of the essay contains the background-story section). Did you know that ‘aadi’ can also be used as ‘etc.’?


किर्ति (kirti) = Philosophy; Thoughts of Wisdom

कृति (kriti) = Composition; Work of Literature


गर्व (garva) = Pride

गर्भ (garbha) = Stomach; Tummy (actually womb)


जाति (jaati) = Caste; Creed

जाती (jaati) = Well-Being; the Best


जुन (jun) = which

जून (jun/ joon) = The moon

Note: On the first one, an example sentence would be ’Jun bata lieko thiyau, tei bato jau’ which means ‘Which road you took, go that way’. 


दिन (din) = Day

दीन (din/ deen) = Needy; Underprivileged


खाली (khali) = Empty

खालि (khali) = Only

Note: On the second one, an example sentence would be: ’Khali malai matra hepcha’ which means ’(He) hates only me’


बास (baas) = Home; A place where we stay

बाँस (baas) = Bamboo

Note: The top one is not nasalized but the bottom is. 


भाडा (bhada) = Rent; Fare

भाँडा (bhada) = Utensil

Note: The top one is not nasalized when we say it, but the bottom one is nasalized.


प्रदान [गर्नु] (pradan [garnu]) = [To] grant/ [to] give

प्रधान (pradhan) = Principal; Chief; Primary; Main


विष (bish) = Poison

बीस (bis) = Twenty


सब (saab) = All

शव (saav/ saab) = Corpse


होस् (hos) = A form of the verb ‘hunu’

होस (hos) = Consciousness 


महिना (mahina) = Month

मैना (maina) = A bird belonging to the starling family


सित (sita/ situh) = With

शित (sit/ seet) = Mist


गुण (gun/ goon) = Speciality

गुन (guun) = Beneficence


फुल (phul) = Egg

फूल (phul / phool) = Flower


Even though they sound the same (almost), their spellings are different. Nepali does not differentiate between all three ’s’ and the two diacritic marks ‘ु’ and ‘ू’. So in those two, there is no ‘lengthening or shortening if you have read it somewhere else. Same with ‘ ि’ and ‘ ी’.

If you need example sentences from the above words, then please send a message!