Grammar Lesson: The Prefix “homo-“

It’s time for a quick grammar lesson with a side of a “politically correct” English lesson.

You can thank the Nomen Global Language Center and the firing of blogger Tim Torkildson for writing a post about…homophones.

downloadYes, a global language center who focuses on teaching English as a Second Language (or third, fourth, etc.) was worried that a blog post explaining homophones “creat[ed] the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.”

According to Torkildson, the owner of the Nomen Center, Clarke Woodger, complained that “now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality.” 

Woodger, of course, cited none of this officially.   Blogger Paul Rolly noted that Nomen catered to foreign students seeking admission into United States colleges and universities; however, “Woodger says his school has taught 6,500 students from 58 countries during the past 15 years. Most of them, he says, are at basic levels of English and are not ready for the more complicated concepts such as homophones.”

If a foreign student cannot understand the difference between “be” and “bee”, than that student is not ready to attend a US college or university.

However, this blog post is not about the firing of Torkildson.  It is about the prefix “homo-“.

DEFINITION: Same.             EXAMPLES:

  • homophone (same sound/pronunciation, different spelling)
  • homograph (same spelling, different sound/pronunciation or meaning)
  • homonym (same spelling and same sound, different meaning)
  • homogenize (to change something so all parts become the same)
  • homograft (a skin graft from the same person)
  • homopaternal (same father)
  • homoplasmy (same mutation)


What do these definitions have in common?  The concept of “SAME”.  NOT sex.  The prefix “homo-” only refers to sexual concepts when used with a base word that is a sexual concept.   Thus, homosexuality.

Lastly: note the etymology of words and the power of language.  Homophobia actually means “to fear sameness”.  It has nothing to do with sex.


Have something to say?