Commonly Confused Words: Board and Bored

Homophone Corner

board and bored
A bored mother watching her children playing a board game. (harpazo_hope/Getty Images)

The words board and bored are homophones: they sound the same but have different meanings.


The noun board refers to a piece of sawed lumber, a flat piece of material (such as a chalkboard), or a table spread with a meal. Board can also mean a group of persons having managerial or advisory responsibilities (such as a board of directors). As a verb, board (up) means to cover with boards or to enter.

Bored is the past tense of the verb bore, which means to dig or to cause or feel boredom.

This word pair is like hopping and hoping in that the two words are close to the same in spelling. However, board and bored are homophones and hopping and hoping are pronounced differently.

Also see the idiom alerts below.


  • "Wilbur walked up to the fence and saw that the goose was right--one board was loose. He put his head down, shut his eyes, and pushed. The board gave way."
    (E.B. White, Charlotte's Web, 1952)
  • "On the third day, Winston went into the vestibule of the Records Department to look at the notice board."
    (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949)
  • If you use coins to board a bus and need to transfer to another line, request a free transfer slip.
  • "In 1953 the house was vacated entirely; nobody even bothered to cover the furniture or board the windows and doors."
    (April L. Ford, The Poor Children. Sante Fe Writer's Project, 2012)
  • With an auger, he bored a hole through the slab, down past the cross-beam.

Idiom Alerts

  • The expression above board means honest, open, legitimate.
    "The rules are meant to crack down on tax avoidance by multinational companies and ensure that they are above-board in how they account for their taxes around the world."
    (Raphael Minder, "Spanish Company's Moves in Ireland Hit Tax and Political Hot Buttons." The New York Times, November 2, 2015)
  • The expression on board means on or in a ship, train, or other form of transportation. On board also means in agreement or part of a team or group.
    - "Every one of them stared at me when I climbed on board the bus, and not with a kind look either."
    (Ellen Airgood, Prairie Evers. Penguin, 2012)
    - "Sharon sensed that the social work staff was on board with the new program, but the nurses seemed more anxious, thinking of patients who were not responsive, who had to be completely cared for and were not able to make decisions or choices."
    (Terry A. Wolfer and Vicki M. Runnion, Dying, Death, and Bereavement in Social Work Practice. Columbia University Press, 2008)
  • The expression bored to tears means to be (or to make someone) very bored. The expressions bored silly, bored stiff, bored to death, bored to distraction, and bored out of one's mind all have essentially the same meaning of being extremely bored.
    - "Although we all try to predict or anticipate what will happen next (in literature, as well as in life), if we were actually able to accomplish this, we'd be bored to tears, uninterested in the eventual outcome."
    (Stephanie Stiles, From "Huh?" to "Hurray!": Righting Your Creative Writing. University Press of America, 2010)
    - "I think Antonio was bored to death, but he pretended to pay attention."
    (Lorna Barrett, Sentenced to Death, 2011)
    - "I wasn't exactly in the habit of doing crosswords, but I was getting a little desperate for entertainment. After five days in Lake Phoenix, I was officially bored out of my mind. And the worst part was that in this situation, unlike family vacations or Gelsey's dance recitals, I couldn't complain to anyone that I was bored out of my mind and know they were feeling the same way."
    (Morgan Matson, Second Chance Summer. Simon & Schuster, 2012)


(a) Some form of identification is needed to _____ a plane or gain access to a computer network.

(b) A chisel can split a _____ lengthwise but not across the grain.

(c) Children have a way of getting into trouble when they're _____.


(a) Some form of identification is needed to board a plane or gain access to a computer network.
(b) A chisel can split a board lengthwise but not across the grain.
(c) Children have a way of getting into trouble when they're bored.

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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Commonly Confused Words: Board and Bored." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 26). Commonly Confused Words: Board and Bored. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Commonly Confused Words: Board and Bored." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 20, 2023).