german homophones

List of German Homophones

german homophonesHomophones exist in every language, and of course we have a few of these confusing words in German. Technically homophones are words that sound the same but are written differently.

Most homophones are just two words that sound the same, but we have rare cases when three or even four words can be homophones.

Here is a list of German homophones

bis (prep.) until, to  Biss (noun, masc.) bite 
Boot (noun, neutr.) boat bot (past tense of bieten) bid, offer
Bund (noun, masc.) Federation bunt (adjective)  colorful 
das (def. article) the  dass (conjunction) that 
fällt (present tense of fallen) falls Feld (noun, neutr.) field
Heer (noun, neutr.) army  her (adverb) from
Held (noun, masc.) hero  hält (present tense of halten) holds
isst (present tense of essen) eats  ist (present tense of sein) is
kannte (past tense of kennen) knew Kante (noun, fem.) edge
konnten (past tense of können) could Konten (noun, pl.) accounts
Küste (noun, fe.) coast küsste (past tense of küssen) kissed
Lehre (noun, fem.) apprenticeship Leere (noun, fem.) emptiness, void 
Leib (noun, masc.) body Laib (noun, masc.) loaf
Lied (noun, neutr.) song Lid (noun, neutr.) eyelid
Mahl (noun, neutr.) dinner, feast mal (prep.) times
man (pronoun) one, you, they Mann (noun, masc.) man
Meer (noun, neutr.) sea mehr (adjective) more
nahmen (past tense of nehmen) took Namen (noun, pl.) names
Rat (noun, masc.) advice, council Rad (noun, neutr.) wheel
seit (prep.) since seid (present tense of sein) are
Städte (noun, pl.) cities Stätte (noun, fem.) location, place
Ställe (noun, pl.) barn Stelle (noun, fem.) place, position
Tod (noun, masc.) death tot (adjective) dead 
fiel (past tense of fallen) fell viel (adjective, adverb) much 
Wahl (noun, fem.) election Wal (noun, masc.) whale 
war (past tense of sein) was wahr (adjective) true
Wende (noun, fem.) turn Wände (noun, pl.) walls
wider (prep.) against wieder (adverb) again 

Homophones with more than two words are

Sie (pronoun, polite) you sie (pronoun, 3rd Pl.) they
sie (pronoun, 3rd Sing.) she sieh! (imperative of sehen) look!
Stadt (noun, fem.) city statt (prep., conj.) instead, in place of
Statt (noun, fem.) stead (old German)

More homophones that are technically homonymes. Homonymes are words that are spelled the same, pronounced the same way but have different meanings.

arm (adjective) poor Arm (noun, masc.) arm
Steuer (noun, neutr.) steering wheel Steuer (noun, fem.) tax 
Tau (noun, masc.) dew Tau (noun, neutr.) rope 

Das Schmankerl – little tidbit

Wer nichts wird, wird Wirt. The one who doesn’t become somebody (= who fails, is a nobody) becomes an inkeeper.

When it comes to the use of homophones in music, Rammstein is probably the band I think of first.
It becomes very apparent in their song “Du hast”. They obviously play with the words du hast you have and du hasst you hate.