Deeper Dive: home

Word Story Text
home is an easy word. Or is it?

home has two big things going for it.

It’s a high frequency word that children already know from spoken language.

given the way it is spelled, it’s pronunciation is the expected one.
It’s a silent -E word and so the vowel is long.

But, there’s a complication. It doesn’t have many friends and it has two false friends that are very high frequency words.

Think for a moment: what other -OME words rhyme with home? There are a few but they are low frequency words such as DOME CHROME and TOME. It’s a little surprising when a high frequency word with a very ordinary spelling and pronunciation, like H-O-M-E, hasn’t got any close friends.

Just another funny thing about English.

The false friends of home are SOME and COME, They are actually higher in frequency and usually learned earlier than home.

The challenge then is to learn home and keep it separate from SOME and COME.

home should not be hard because it works like other silent -E words: the vowel is long. It can also be grouped with morphological relatives such as HOMES HOMELAND HOMEROOM and many others. Remember the idea is to treat the word as a member of a family of words that support each other, rather than a loner that has to memorized as a “sight word”.

SOME and COME go together and each has morphological relatives for support. SOMETHING SOMEONE HANDSOME; COMES BECOME OVERCOME WELCOME and so on.

In learning as in life, it’s good to have friends.
home (hōm; 110), noun [OE. hom, ham, AS. hām; akin to OS. hēm, D. & G. heim, Sw. hem, Dan. hiem, Icel. heimr abode, world, heima home, Goth. haims village, Lith. këmas, and perh. to Gr. κώμη village, or to E. hind a peasant; cf. Skr. kshēma abode, place of rest, security, kshi to dwell. √20, 220.]

1. One’s own dwelling place; the house in which one lives; esp., the house in which one lives with his family; the habitual abode of one's family; also, one's birthplace.
The disciples went away again to their own home. John xx. 10.

home is the sacred refuge of our life. Dryden.

home! home! sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home. Payne.
2. One's native land; the place or country in which one dwells; the place where one's ancestors dwell or dwelt.
“Our old home [England].” Hawthorne.
3. The abiding place of the affections, especially of the domestic affections.
He entered in his house – his home no more,
For without hearts there is no home. Byron.
4. The locality where a thing is usually found, or was first found, or where it is naturally abundant; habitat; seat; as, the home of the pine.
Her eyes are homes of silent prayer. Tennyson.

Flandria, by plenty made the home of war. Prior.
5. A place of refuge and rest; an asylum; as, a home for outcasts; a home for the blind; hence, esp., the grave; the final rest; also, the native and eternal dwelling place of the soul.
Man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets. Eccl. xii. 5.
6. (Baseball) The home base; as, he started for home.

At home
(a) At one's own house, or lodgings.

(b) In one's own town or country; as, peace abroad and at home.

(c) Prepared to receive callers.
home department
the department of executive administration, by which the internal affairs of a country are managed. [Eng.]
To be at home on any subject
to be conversant or familiar with it.
To feel at home
to be at one's ease.
To make one's self at home
to conduct one's self with as much freedom as if at home.
Syn. – Tenement; house; dwelling; abode; domicile.

home, adjective

1. Of or pertaining to one's dwelling or country; domestic; not foreign; as home manufactures; home comforts.

2. Close; personal; pointed; as, a home thrust.

3. (Games) In various games, the ultimate point aimed at in a progress; goal; as:
(a) (Baseball) The plate at which the batter stands; same as home base and home plate.

(b) (Lacrosse) The place of a player in front of an opponent's goal; also, the player.
home base


home plate
(Baseball), the base at which the batter stands when batting, and which is the last base to be reached in scoring a run.
home farm
grounds, etc., the farm, grounds, etc., adjacent to the residence of the owner.
home lot
an inclosed plot on which the owner's home stands. [U. S.]
home rule
rule or government of an appendent or dependent country, as to all local and internal legislation, by means of a governing power vested in the people within the country itself, in contradistinction to a government established by the dominant country; as, home rule in Ireland. Also used adjectively; as, home-rule members of Parliament.
home ruler
one who favors or advocates home rule.
home stretch
(Sport.), that part of a race course between the last curve and the winning post.
home thrust
a well directed or effective thrust; one that wounds in a vital part; hence, in controversy, a personal attack.
home, adverb

1. To one's home or country; as in the phrases, go home, come home, carry home.

2. Close; closely.
How home the charge reaches us, has been made out. South.

They come home to men's business and bosoms. Bacon.
3. To the place where it belongs; to the end of a course; to the full length; as, to drive a nail home; to ram a cartridge home.
Wear thy good rapier bare and put it home. Shak.
home is often used in the formation of compound words, many of which need no special definition; as, home-brewed, home-built, home-grown, etc.

-- Webster's unabridged 1913

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