Are "whores" and "horse" homophones?

The question linked to above is interesting for phoneticians and other linguists because, surprisingly perhaps, there is very unlikely to be any difference in voicing in the last segments of the words whores and horse despite what we think our ears are telling us.

For this reason the question is noteworthy because it raises the issue of how we are able to differentiate between the two words. And that is a story for linguists.

Can you help reopen this question if you have sufficient rep, please? Thanks.

Edit note: This question is now reopened. Thank you to the reopen voters. I think the question's potentially very useful for readers and for the site.

  • 1
    As I commented on the question, I think we should wait for the OP to confirm whether they want to ask about horse or horses. Several comments, even one by a mod, request that clarification. Also the OP really should tell us which dictionaries they checked. Your good answer will remain there and can be read even if we have to wait a little while for the OP to respond. Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 14:49
  • 4
    @curiousdannii I think it's pretty obvious that the OP meant "horse".
    – Othya
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 18:42
  • 2
    Yes, I agree it is pretty obvious that OP meant "horse", but @curiousdannii exhibits his usual intransigent attitude and would probably prefer to see such an interesting question with a great answer on hold.
    – user 66974
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 6:26
  • 1
    @Saturana I want to see the question open, but I also want the OP to be a participant in the process. Those who think it is so obvious have to account for the fact that the OP wrote it twice (so it's not a simple typo), that two people including a mod edited the question without changing it to horse, and that there were many comments (now all since deleted) asking for clarification, again, including one from a mod. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 6:51

1 Answer 1


Although it may not have seemed such to its closers, this is an interesting question because of how illustrative it is of how native speakers of one language can have trouble with an L2 language when the phoneme set of their L1 doesn’t perfectly align with the one they’re learning.

I’ve voted to reöpen.

  • A bit off-topic, but were the original comments on the question deleted (back when the question was regarding 'whores and horses')? I wasn't aware that other people can delete your comments (aside from inappropriate comments)
    – Othya
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 18:43
  • @Othya The only people that can delete comments are mods or yourself. The vast majority ('other') people cannot delete your comments.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 19:28
  • 3
    @Mitch That's not quite true. The community can also delete comments through the accumulation of flags. In certain cases, such as the f*** word or the wh*** word, it takes only one.
    – tchrist Mod
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 0:22
  • 4
    @tchrist is that wh-deletion? Haha linguistic jokes. Fozzy bear would be proud
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 0:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .