Is the word "project" the only word in English that has two different meanings depending on where the stress falls?

I like your prOject.

We need to projEct this idea on his program.

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  • Object and subject are others. – Michael Harvey Oct 1 '18 at 16:22
  • You mean a verb and a noun? – Lambie Oct 1 '18 at 18:24
  • @Lambie - Not necessarily. – brilliant Oct 1 '18 at 23:23
  • Well, your example is that. The stress differs in the verb or noun. Two words that are written the same and pronounced differently and have different meanings are homonyms, specifically homographs regardless of the number of syllables. – Lambie Oct 2 '18 at 13:39

No, there are many: incense, contract, permit, record, concert, etc.

An incomplete list

There are a few, mostly borrowed words like résumé and divorcé, that are sometimes written with the accent marks to help distinguish them from the verb/adjective with the same spelling.

(Edit) As FumbleFingers mentions, in general the noun has the accent on the first syllable, while the verb/adjective has the accent on the second (or last) syllable, e.g. CONtract vs conTRACT. However, as is typical in English, there are exceptions: mentor is pronounced the same for both the noun and the verb, and (as HiddenBabel mentions) some pronounce detail with the accent on the first syllable, and some with the accent on the second syllable, and some both ways depending on context.

  • I remember one person pronouncing the name of Kyra Sedgwick's show as if it were "more close". – Acccumulation Oct 1 '18 at 16:52
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    I'm think it's at least usually the case that the specific difference is the (original?) verb form has stress on the second syllable, which we shift to the first syllable when using as a noun. But how solidly does that rule apply? And are there any examples of relatively recent new words that only started life as either verbs or nouns, but which have now extended to the other sense? Specifically, suppose a 2-syllable neologism started out as a noun with 2nd-syllable stress, or as a verb with 1st-syllable stress? How would this "rule" apply in those cases (if they even exist! :) – FumbleFingers Oct 1 '18 at 17:14
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    "Detail" is another exception. The verb is stressed on the first syllable, while the noun can be stressed on either syllable depending on the speaker. – HiddenBabel Oct 1 '18 at 21:16

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