Homogeneous / Homogenous

Discussion in 'English Only' started by belano75, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. belano75 Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Hello again,

    Another question about spelling...

    I have found "homogeneous" and "homogenous" in several dictionaries, so I understand both are correct. I have the impression that the first one is more common. Is there any difference in the way you use them? Is it better to use one of them? Is it exactly the same?

    Thanks you very much for your time and help! Best regards, belano75
  2. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    The first is American and the second British. Note the stress: homogeneous and "homogenous. This is similar to the case of aluminium and aluminum, and speciality, specialty, the first forms being British and the second American.
  3. belano75 Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Thanks for your help! Regards, belano75
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In case I am not the only one confused by this ... :rolleyes:

    The normal British spelling is homogeneous.
    Both spellings are used in BE, depending on the context, but I don't believe there is any difference in meaning.
    <Edit: I'm wrong - see posts below that set out the differences.>

    I can't speak for AE usage, but I notice that Merriam-Webster's entry for homogenous contains only a link to homogeneous, where the definitions are given.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  5. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    The accent in the two words falls in different places. This is well illustrated by the voices speaking the words at dictionary.com (click on the little loudspeaker in each case) - Homogenous - accent on second syllable, Homogeneous - accent on third syllable.
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    This pair has always puzzled me, so I've looked them up in the OED, which has this for homogeneous (pronounced ...genius):
    and this for homogenous (stress on the second syllable):
    (the links lead to definitions of homogenetic and homoplastic as, respectively, Having a common descent or origin; and obtained from another individual of the same species as the recipient.)

    So, if I understand aright, the OED sees homogeneous and homogenous as two different words, but says that homogeneous is often pronounced (though less often spelt) like homogenous.

    Clear as mud, really:(
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    The notion that one is BE and the other AE is far off the mark. AE uses both.

    –adjective 1. composed of parts or elements that are all of the same kind; not heterogeneous: a homogeneous population. 2. of the same kind or nature; essentially alike.--Random House Unabridged


    –adjective 1. Biology. corresponding in structure because of a common origin. 2. homogeneous. 3. homoplastic. --Random House Unabridged

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