Sewer - sower

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The nouns sewer and sower are nearly homographs - but they differ in their second letters. They should not be confused, either by a careless typing error or poor knowledge of spelling. In an extra complication, there are homographs of sewer, one of which is a homophone of sower.

  • A sewer is
    • (pronounced 'SOO-er', IPA: /'suː ər/)
      • a drain for carrying away waste water, particularly normal human waste.
      • archaically, and also pronounced 'SOO-er', IPA: /'suː ər/, a servant who waits on table, particularly one who arranges where the people eating should sit: it is derived from the French asseoir, 'to sit' or 'to seat'. (One of the obsolete meanings of 'to sew' is 'to seat guests in a formal order'.)
    • (pronounced 'SOH-er', IPA: /'səʊ ər/) a person who sews
  • A sower (also pronounced 'SOH-er', IPA: /'səʊ ər/) is one who plants seed. In Jesus's parable of the Sower and the Seed (Matthew 13, 3-9), the story is of a farmer who scatters seed which falls in different places, with different results; the allegorical meaning is of the different reception that the words of the teacher have in the different hearers.
You may also want to see AWE's page on sew and sow.