There is no black-or-white definition of 'homonym.'" According to a variety of reference books where we looked up the word, some included homographs and others included homophones.

In our latest booklet - 101 Homonym Tips - we used the most concise definition we could find which is as follows:

*Def. Funk & Wagnalls Canadian College Dictionary (New and Updated Edition)

Definition of a Homonym 1. a homophone. 2. a homograph. 3. A word identical with another in spelling and pronunciation, but differing from it in origin and meaning, as butter, the food, and butter, one who butts. 4. One who has the same name as another; namesake. [ Homonym is unfortunately used with a variety of meanings: one of two words that sound alike but otherwise; as fair and fare, more precisely called homophones; one of two words that are spelled alike but otherwise differ, as bear (the animal) and bear (to carry), more precisely called homographs; and finally, and most precisely, with the sense of definition 3 above.*

Other reference books define these words as follows:

Reader's Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder

1.homonym - a word of the same spelling or sound as another but of different meaning; a homograph or homophone
2. a namesake

homophone
1. a word having the same sound as another but of different meaning or origin (e.g., pair, pear).
2 a symbol denoting the same sound as another.
homograph
a word spelled like another but of different meaning or origin

H.W. Fowler A Dictionary of Modern English Usage homonym.

Broadly speaking, homonyms are separate words that happen to be identical in form, and synonyms are separate words that happen to mean the same thing. Pole, a shaft or stake, is a native English word; pole, the terminal point of an axis, is borrowed from Greek; the words, then, are two and not one, but being identical in form are called homonyms.
On the other hand cat, the animal, and cat, the flogging instrument, though they are identical in form and mean different things, are not separate words, but one word used in two senses; there are therefore not homonyms. http://www.editingandwritingservices.com/homonyms.html (Judy Vorfeld)

HOMONYM: One of two or more words having the same sound and often the same spelling but different meanings. Examples: quail (cower), and quail (bird) fair (appearance), fair (county fair), and fair (reasonable).

HOMOPHONE: One of two or more words pronounced the same but different in meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling. Examples: cite, sight, and site; sea and see; your and you're; bow and bough. HOMOGRAPH: One of two or more words spelled alike but different in origin, meaning, and sometimes pronunciation. Examples: bow of a ship, a bow and arrow, and a bow (deference/manners).

HETERONYM: One of two or more words that are spelled the same but that differ in pronunciation and meaning. Examples: bass (voice) and bass (fish); polish (shine) and Polish (from Poland); tear (rip) and tear (from eye). Clifton Press http://rogersreference.com/rr_email_contact_page_for_Rogers_Reference.htm

HOMONYMS Homonyms are "words with the same pronunciation as another, but with a different meaning, origin, and usually spelling", Webster's New World Dictionary, 1995.
2.The Winston Dictionary of Canadian English, Intermediate Edition Holt, Rinehard and Winston of Canada, Limited

homonym n. 1. a word that is spelled and pronounced the same as one or more other words, but differs in meaning and usu. in origin. Example: "miss" (to fail to hit) and "miss" (unmarried girl).
2. a homophone. homophone. n. a word that is pronounced the same as another, but differs in spelling and meaning. "Hair" and "hare" are homophones. homograph n. a word that is spelled the same as one or more other words, but differes in meaning, origin, or pronunciation. Examples: "bear" (to carry) and "bear" the animal); "lead" (to conduct) and "lead" (the metal). http://www.editingandwritingservices.com/homonyms.html (Judy Vorfeld)

HOMONYM: One of two or more words having the same sound and often the same spelling but different meanings. Examples: quail (cower), and quail (bird) fair (appearance), fair (county fair), and fair (reasonable).

HOMOPHONE: One of two or more words pronounced the same but different in meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling. Examples: cite, sight, and site; sea and see; your and you're; bow and bough.

HOMOGRAPH: One of two or more words spelled alike but different in origin, meaning, and sometimes pronunciation. Examples: bow of a ship, a bow and arrow, and a bow (deference/manners). HETERONYM: One of two or more words that are spelled the same but that differ in pronunciation and meaning. Examples: bass (voice) and bass (fish); polish (shine) and Polish (from Poland); tear (rip) and tear (from eye). Clifton Press http://rogersreference.com/rr_email_contact_page_for_Rogers_Reference.htm

HOMONYMS Homonyms are "words with the same pronunciation as another, but with a different meaning, origin, and usually spelling", Webster's New World Dictionary, 1995. http://www2.plymouth.ac.uk/gateway_to_study/EngLang/homonyms.htm

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