Wright - rite
Right, rite, wright and write 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.
There are at least three homophones of the basic verb '[to] write' (see write (irregular verb)). Write and right are common words, whose use is dealt with at Right - write. Two rather rarer words which are useful to students in some disciplines are wright and rite.
- Wright is an old word hardly used nowadays except in certain compounds, and rarely even then except by historians. A wright is a craftsman who makes things, essentially of wood. Common wrights were such people as shipwrights, wheelwrights and millwrights, who all made the objects named in the first part of their compound names. The commonest confusion of wright with one of its homophones of which we are aware is covered at playwright - playwrite (error).
- A rite is a ceremonial action or series of actions, particularly (and originally) in religion. Rites of marriage, naming and burial are observed in most religions, and all societies. In a looser sense, rite has been separated from the religious context, and is used figuratively for many different forms of repeated ceremonial. In Social Anthropology and Sociology there is a technical formulation, the rite de passage.