New Nerd Merit Badge: Homonyms


The folks behind the patches that clearly mark your nerdy prowess – Nerd Merit Badges – have released their latest merit badge, Homonyms (pictured on the right).

In case your grade school English classes are a distant memory, the most common use of the term homonym is for words that are pronounced the same way but are different in meaning and spelling. This is symbolized in the merit badge by the combination of three images: rain, the horse’s rein, and the crown, which symbolizes the reign of a monarch.

To earn this merit badge, you have to be able to correctly spell homonyms. As with the other merit badges, they’re relying on the honour system; that is, the fine Nerd Merit Badges people expect that you will order this badge if and only if you  know in your heart of hearts that you have truly earned it.

Some of you may complain that the badge should actually be called Homophones (from the Latin words for “same” and “sound”) because the term homonym (from the Latin words for “same” and “name”), when strictly used refers to words with the same pronunciation and spelling but different meaning. Examples include bear, which could refer to the animal or mean “to carry”, or stalk, which could refer to a plant part or refer to hunting. If you are one of these people, I will notify you when they make a Pedant Nerd Merit Badge.

This Nerd Merit Badge, like the previous two, is available at the Nerd Merit Badges site for USD$3.99; you can also buy a five-pack for USD$19.95.

I covered the previous two Nerd Merit Badges in earlier articles, which I’ve linked below:

5 replies on “New Nerd Merit Badge: Homonyms”

Joel, thanks for clearly covering the “homoNYM versus homoPHONE” thing. When future Twitter-ers — in their corduroy jackets with the leather patches on the elbows and their pipes — when these folks tell us that we’ve committed a grievous error in naming the badge, we shall point them to this article.

Of course, we can’t get tetchy when people get nitpick-y with us, seeing how that we have created a TROPHY FOR NITPICKYNESS. :)

Other left? Or possibly left, from the perspective of someone behind my screen, in the vast and uncharted interwebs.

Sounds like I’m in the running for that trophy.

The badge has more good homonym words: horse/hoarse, bridle/bridal, mane/main. Do I get extra credit?

Also, just in case it wasn’t clear, the other homonyms are: horse/hoarse, bridal/bridal, and whether/weather.

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