Fir - fur

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The two words fir and fur are homophones. Both are pronounced IPA: /fɜːr/, and both are common in current English. As the spell-checker will not distinguish whether the writer has used the correct one, you must!

  • A fir is a type of coniferous tree. There are many species.
  • Fur is literally the hair growing on the skin of an animal, for example that which cat-lovers enjoy stroking on their pets.
    • A fur is the skin of certain animals still on the skin, which has been taken from the dead animal to be used for clothes.
    • Figuratively, fur may be used to name substances that resemble the fur of an animal: it is common to refer to the clotting of plumbing by 'hard water' as fur, and to use the verb fur, mostly as the participle furred, to talk about the process. By analogy, arteries may be furred up by deposits of fat, narrowing them, restricting the flow of blood, and leading to heart attacks.