Boarder vs. Border | Confusing Homophones

Border and boarder are homophones (words that sound alike but are spelled differently) and easily confused words.


Boarder is a noun which means someone living in a house and consuming meals in exchange for rent. It is synonymous with a roomer or tenant.

Taking in boarders was a common practice resulting from the Great Depression when countless people lost jobs and traveled to other towns looking for employment. It was also customary for single-parent households (particularly mothers) who didn’t or couldn’t work outside the home but wanted extra income to take in a boarder or boarders. In the 1954 Film About Mrs. Leslie, the title character runs a boarding house. 

Example: The boarder upstairs was a quite man. He kept to himself and was rarely seen by the other members of the house.


Border is also a noun, meaning a legal boundary between a city, country, province, parish, state, or nation.

Example: Michael knew that once he crossed the border, he was free.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Example: Harold knew he couldn’t be trailed across the border, so he ran 6 miles into the next county to boarder at a widow’s house for the evening.

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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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