'Bored' vs 'Board': What's the Difference?

By Katie Moore, updated on August 7, 2023

‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’: What’s the Difference? How can we tell words apart when they sound exactly the same? English has a funny habit of using words that sound identical but mean different things, which can make telling them apart more difficult. The best way to master these types of confusing duos is by learning more than just their meaning but how they work in context as well. 

In a hurry? Here’s a quick preview of what’s to come: 

  • ‘Bored’ is a word that describes being weary and unoccupied.
  • ‘Board’ is a word that means both a plank of wood and the action of getting in a vehicle. 

What’s the Difference Between ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’? 

Aside from the obvious spelling difference, these words mean very distinct things. In fact, the words individually carry many meanings, so context is especially important when mastering them.

But first, let’s look at how to tell them apart

To begin with, these words belong to different parts of speech. ‘Bored’ is primarily an adjective, while ‘Board’ is primarily a noun and verb. 

  • An adjective is a descriptive word that modifies something in a sentence.
  • A noun is a person, place, or object.
  • And a verb is a word that denotes an action. 

Knowing that these two words belong to different parts of speech, you can use that as a clue when you hear them in a sentence because you can identify how the word is being used.

  • For example, you know if the conversation is about a ‘Board’ being used to build something, it clearly is a noun, not an adjective. 

Of course, when you see ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’ written in front of you, it’s easier to tell them apart. But why is it that these words are pronounced the same? The answer lies in learning a bit about homophones. 

Homophones: What Are They?

Having words that look different but sound identical can be extra confusing when trying to learn new words. So you may be wondering, ‘Why have words that sound the same in the first place?’ The answer is that there is a limited number of sounds and sound combinations in the English language. Because of this, some letter combinations produce the same sounds as others making their pronunciations the same. 

What is this called in the grammar world? A homophone.

  • Homophones are words spelled differently and meaning different things but are pronounced exactly the same.
  • They typically come in pairs, but there are occasionally trios as well.

Here are some examples of other homophones: 

Homophones are one of the reasons context is so important and also means that learning definitions can be the key to remembering a proper version of a word. So, let’s take a closer look at ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’ and what they mean. 

Definition of ‘Bored’: What Does it Mean? 

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Bored’ is an adjective that means: 

  • Feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity
    • “She got bored with staring out the window.”
  • (of a gun) having a specific bore
    • “large-bored guns” 

As a verb, ‘Bore’ with the past tense ‘Bored’ can also mean: 

  • Make a hole in something, especially with a revolving tool
    • “the drill can bore through rock” 
  • Hollow out a tube or tunnel
    • “try to bore the tunnel at the right angle”
  • Make one’s way through a crowd
  • Make someone feel weary and uninterested by tedious talk or dullness
    • “I don’t want to bore you with the details” 

Synonyms of ‘Bored’

  • Uninterested
  • Disinterested
  • Fatigued
  • Tired
  • Dull 
  • Blasé
  • Spiritless
  • Sick and tired
  • Inattentive

Antonyms of ‘Bored’

  • Energized 
  • Refreshed
  • Excited
  • Enthusiastic
  • Interested
  • Exhilarated

Phrases with ‘Bored’

  • Bored to death
  • Boring
  • To be bored
  • Bored through

Definition of ‘Board’: What Does it Mean? 

According to Oxford Languages, ‘Board’ is a noun that means: 

  • A long, thin, flat piece of wood or other hard material used for floors or other building purposes
    • Loose boards creaked as he walked on them.”
  • A vertical surface on which to write or pin notices
    • Teachers talk and write on the board.” 
  • A horizontal surface on which to cut things, play games, or perform other activities
    • “She set the pieces out on the board.”
  • A flat insulating sheet used as a mounting for an electronic circuit,
    • “A graphics board.”
  • The piece of equipment a person stands on while surfing, skating, snowboarding, and certain other sports.
    • “You kick-flip with both feet on the board.” 
  • The wooden structure surrounding an ice hockey rink
  • Pieces of thick stiff cardboard or, originally, wood used for book covers
  • A group of people constitutes the decision-making body of an organization
    • “He sits on the board of directors.” 
  • The provision of regular meals when one stays somewhere in return for payment or services
    • Your room and board will be free.”

Meanwhile, as a verb, ‘Board’ can also mean: 

  • Get on or into a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle
    • “We boarded the plane.” 
  • (of an aircraft) be ready for passengers to embark
    • “The flight is now boarding at gate A.”
  • Live and receive regular meals in a house in return for payment or services
    • “The cousins boarded for a while with their grandparents.”
  • Cover or seal a window, storefront, or other structure with pieces of wood
    • “The place was all boarded up.” 
  • Ride on a snowboard
    • “When we’re not boarding, we’re skiing.”

Synonyms of ‘Board’

  • Panel 
  • Slat
  • Plank 
  • Timber
  • Fare
  • Provisions
  • Cabinet
  • Committee
  • Catch
  • Climb on
  • Embark
  • Hop on
  • Accommodate

Antonyms of ‘Board’

  • One
  • Stick
  • Brick
  • Disembark
  • Get off
  • Leave
  • Turn away

Phrases with ‘Board’

  • Get on board
  • Board games
  • Chessboard
  • Board a plane
  • All aboard
  • Room and board
  • Boarding school

Pronunciations: How to Pronounce ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’

The beauty of homophones is that you know they are supposed to sound exactly the same. So, when you learn to pronounce one, you’ve learned to pronounce both. This is super helpful during conversations when you want to ensure you’re saying things correctly. 

Use this phonetic spelling of both ‘Bored’ and ‘Board’ as a guide: 

  • ‘Bor-d’ (with the “o” as in ‘floor’ or ‘orb’)

How to Use ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’ in a Sentence

Since homophones sound the same, when we hear them spoken without being able to read them in front of us, we must rely on context clues to tell which version of the word is being used. Since ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’ not only differ from each other but have a variety of definitions that fall under the same spelling, we have to be extra careful. 

What is the best way to navigate all of this? Learning from real-world examples.

Here are some sample sentences that explore many scenarios where these words may appear. 

‘Bored’ Example Sentences

  • He was bored out of his mind at home because he got grounded and wasn’t allowed to leave the house.
  • The construction team accidentally bored a hole through a pipe which flooded the work site
  • She worked on a new painting until she got bored and decided to switch to another project. 

‘Board’ Example Sentences

  • The floorboards in the old house were so squeaky it was impossible to sneak around. 
  • Because the security line was so long, they were the last ones to board the plane.
  • The student got a huge tuition scholarship, meaning she only had to pay for room and board
  • Although many boarding schools are obscenely expensive, they offer a unique sense of independence at a young age. 
  • The students quickly took notes as their teacher projected the lecture on the board

‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’ Example Sentences

  • After riding his board for hours after school, he decided to go home because he was bored of doing the same tricks. 
  • She couldn’t concentrate on what was on the board because she was so bored by the subject matter. 
  • Cruise ships offer so many free activities on board that it’s impossible to be bored during your trip. 

Final Advice on ‘Bored’ vs ‘Board’ 

Homophones are naturally confusing because when we first hear them we may not know what version of the word is being said. However, when we remember parts of speech and focus on context clues, identifying the correct form of a word becomes much easier. Remember that learning new words means much more than just memorizing definitions. 

Want a recap? Here’s a quick review of what we covered: 

  • ‘Bored’ is an adjective that describes feeling uninterested or weary of something. 
  • Meanwhile, ‘Board’ as a noun refers to a plank of wood or hard surface, and as a verb refers to getting on a vehicle. 

Want to tackle more homophones? Check out other confusing word articles where you’ll master more tough duos that will expand your vocabulary and give you the tools to take on context clues.

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Written By:
Katie Moore
Katie is a recent graduate of Occidental College where she worked as a writer and editor for the school paper while studying linguistics and journalism. She loves helping others find their voice in writing and making their work the strongest it can be. Katie also loves learning and speaking other languages and wants to help make writing accessible for everyone.

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