Board - bored

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Board and bored, with bawd, form one of the sets of homophones listed by the then Poet Laureate Robert Bridges.
(For more, see Bridges homophones). AWE has a category listing our articles on each of these..

Board and bored are two homophones (they rhyme with 'Lord', 'sword', 'ward' and 'hoard', IPA: /bɔːrd/) that have been confused. Don't confuse them!

  • Bored is the past, tense and participle of two separate verbs, with two meanings.
    • The first verb 'to bore' means 'to make a hole in [usually with a drill or similar tool]'. carpenters may bore holes, and diggers may bore tunnels.
    • The second 'to bore' means "To weary by tedious conversation or simply by the failure to be interesting" (OED). You may find this article boring; I am bored by writing it. Non-native speakers of English have been known to confuse the -ing participle and the -ed participle, at some risk of offending a teacher.
      • Do not confuse either of these meanings of 'to bore' with the past tense form of the verb 'to bear'. Christmas is celebrated by Christians as the day when Mary bore Jesus.
  • Board as a noun is basically a 'plank', with many sub-meanings. If it is shaped very roughly like a plank, with many little keys with letters on it, for example, it is a keyboard. As a verb, it also has many applications. Some of these are given in Board - broad.
  • There is also a third near-homophone, to be avoided. In older English, the word bawd (pronounced the same way, still) meant the manager of prostitutes, or the madam of a brothel or her male equivalent. In Shakespeare's time, it was used much as we might use 'pimp' in this 21st century. Avoid this spelling. It should be added, however, that we still use the word 'bawdy' meaning 'to do with humour of an essentially sexual nature'.

See also the easily made typo board - broad.