This topic mostly for fun. I was doing some reading today and happened to see つらい (difficult) written in kanji (辛い), which is rare. I felt like I was going crazy for thinking it looked exactly like からい (辛い) (spicy), and decided to finally look them up to remember what the difference was. Turns out there isn’t one. They really do share the same kanji, and accompanying kana, and the pronunciation/meaning only differs based on context.
In daily reading this isn’t really a problem, since つらい is written in kana 90 percent of the time, and the other 10 percent you have context, but I’m pretty sure this is a unique case among the words I’ve actually studied so far. There are plenty of cases where multiple kanji can be used for one word (often with slightly different nuance), but I can’t think of any others where the same kanji and kana are used for different words.
But I’m sure it’s not unique within the language, so what are some others? Higher-level speakers/learners especially, what other “pronunciation/meaning only determined by context” vocab have you encountered? And are any pairs like this still in regular use without one usually being written in kana?