Confusing Words Clarified: Group E; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +

(lists of "E" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)

All of the main entries in these "Confusing Words" groups are explained, or defined, followed by pronunciations, and sentences which are meant to enhance your understanding of their meanings.

The definitions provided are based on dictionary presentations and are meant to help you differentiate between the various meanings of each word group.

Many current dictionaries, popular writing books, specialized topical resources, and style guides were consulted for these groups so you can develop better word skills and communication tools.

In your daily writing, be aware of what the "right words are for the correct meanings" so you can improve your writing accuracy in a positive way.


A great deal of effort has been devoted to help you grasp the meanings of over 1,700 word groups (or more than 5,100 entry words in the sections) which may be confusing to you so you can utilize them with greater accuracy in your communications.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome by writing to: E-mail Contact (just click it for an e-mail form) or by typing, words@wordinfo.info, as the address in your e-mail heading.

If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.

envelop, envelope
envelop (in VEL uhp) (verb)
To wrap around; to cover completely; to conceal, to hide: In a play about Mozart, he is visited by someone who chose to envelop himself in a dark cape so as to be unrecognizable.
envelope (EN vuh lohp, AHN vuh lohp") (noun)
A cover or a paper wrapper holder for a letter: Susan remarked, "Vern, don't forget to put a stamp on the envelope before you mail it.

Daphne first decided to envelop the lovely card she was sending to her mother in pink paper before she put it in the envelope to be mailed.

envy, covet, desire
envy (EN vee) (noun)
Anger or resentful awareness of the advantages enjoyed by another person or people: The envy the older brother felt about the fact that his younger brother was able to go to university often upset him.
covet (KUV it) (verb)
To wish for or to desire something that belongs to another individual: As long as Emily could remember, she was told by her mother not to covet her sister’s bright red hair.
desire (di ZIGHR) (verb)
To hope or to express a wish for something: In Tonia's heart of hearts, she had a desire for a rich and famous boyfriend.

Donovan, be careful what you covet because you might get what you desire and then you could arouse envy among your friends who just might turn out to be your enemies.

epic, epoch
epic (EP ik) (noun)
Typically a story or writing describing the legendary and heroic events and happenings of a period in history: James read a historic saga, or an epic, to his children about a particular cowboy.
epoch (EP uhk, EE puhk") (noun)
A time in history that is set off by specific events or happenings: The creation of the printing press marked the beginning of the epoch of literacy for many Europeans and future generations around the world.

The balladeers told the epic tale of giants who lived on the earth before the present epoch in which we live.

epigram, epigraph
epigram (EP i gram") (noun)
A wise or witty saying: Benjamin Franklin knew how to present an epigram about many topics.
Here are a few examples of Benjamin Franklin's epigrams:

"Genius without Education is like Silver in the Mine."

"Keep our eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards."

"He's a Fool who makes his Doctor his Heir."

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

epigraph (EP i graf") (noun)
1. An engraved or carved inscription on something; such as, a statue or building: The epigraph over the entry to the edifice gave the date when it was built.
2. A quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, or section of a book, usually related to its theme: There is an appropriate and amusing epigraph located every so often in this dictionary.

The epigraph on the stone which marked the grave of the author quoted a portion of an epigram from his friend.

Additional epigrams are available at this "Benjamin Franklin: A Genius of Many Gifts" page.

epitaph, epithet
epitaph (EP uh taf") (noun)
Something written or said in memory of a dead person; especially, words written on a gravestone:
Here lies Pecos Bill
He always lied
He once lied loud
He now lies still.
epithet (EP uh thet") (noun)
1. A term used to characterize, or to describe, a person or thing: Monty's charitable works have earned him the epithet "Mr. Philanthropy".
2. An offensive word or name that is used as a way of abusing or insulting someone or others: There was a group of angry people hurling one epithet after another at each other.

An epitaph is sometimes a statement that tells a monumental lie or epithet above (on the grave stone) about the person who lies below.

equable, equitable
equable (EK wuh buhl, EE kwuh buhl) (adjective)
Descriptive of a person's character which lacks in extreme variation or difference: Justine demonstrated a calm, unruffled and an equable temper despite the circumstances.
equitable (EK wi tuh buhl) (adjective)
Fairness, pertaining to a lack in favoritism: Jackson's mother was always just, unswayed and equitable with distributing treats and discipline.

Vince's equable temperament made it easy for him to act in an equitable manner during the tense union negotiations.

era, error
era (IR uh, EHR uh) (noun)
A point in time from which an event or significant period in history is marked: The popularity of the automobile marked the beginning of an era of expanding transportation options for people.
error (EHR uhr) (noun)
An act or situation based on unintentionally inaccurate information: The bank clerk noticed an error in the balance sheet of the customer.

It is an error to think that the modern era ended at the turn of the century.

erasable, irascible
erasable (i RAYS uh b'l) (adjective)
Referring to marks which can be removed, as with an eraser, or a recorded matter that can be deleted: The formula which was written on the chalkboard was erasable as soon as it was solved.
irascible (i RAS uh b'l) (adjective)
Easily angered; quick tempered: Dick's neighbor has an irascible, or irritable and surly, disposition.

The irascible temper of the professor often confused the students. Sometimes he would write information on the chalkboard which he would then consider erasable before the end of his lecture.

erect, erect, eruct
erect (i REKT) (adjective)
Concerning something or someone being in a vertical, upright position: The judge's posture was strong and erect.
erect (i REKT) (verb)
1. To construct by assembling: The farmers all got together to erect the new barn after the fire.
2. To raise to a rigid or vertical condition: The gardener was careful to erect the flowers in an upright position so they would bloom better.
eruct (i RUKT) (verb)
To belch: His mother always reminded him it was not polite to eruct or burp loudly in public.

The professor always appeared so erect and proper that it was hard to imagine that he would ever eruct in public.

erratum (s) (noun), errata (pl)
erratum, singular (i RAH tuhm, i RAY tuhm) (noun)
An error in a publication discovered after the publication has been printed; the correction of which is made available on a separate sheet: The publisher called attention to the erratum in the book by including the correction on a blue sheet of paper.
errata, plural (i RAH tuh, i RAY tuh) (noun)
A list of corrections of errors in a publication: Jarvis noticed on several pages that there were errata as indicated by the book publisher.

Some publications point out errata that exist as a list of corrections and which are often bound into a book after it has been printed.

There was one erratum listed for page 16 and on page 20 which were listed in the errata at the front of the recently published book.

eruption, irruption
eruption (i RUP shuhn) (noun)
An incidence of violent explosion: The eruption of the volcano took everyone by surprise.
irruption (i RUP shuhn) (noun)
A violent incursion or sudden invasion: The irruption of the population of rats in the city caused the health officials to be very concerned.

The eruption of the volcano and subsequent destruction of the infrastructure in the city caused concern that there would be an irruption of disease in the city.

especial, spacial, special
especial (i SPESH uhl) (adjective)
Distinctive, noteworthy, personal, of special significance: In the speech, the college president paid especial attention to the awards the research department had achieved.
spacial, spatial (SPAY shuhl) (adjective)
A description of the three dimensional spaces in which objects have relative direction or position: To be a competent artist, you need to have a good sense of spacial relationships.
special (SPESH uhl) (adjective)
Unusual and readily distinguishable from other objects or individuals or events: The two little girls were special friends and played together all the time.

It was an especial honor to listen to the professor talk about spacial relationships in architecture.

It was a special moment to see my favorite building highlighted in the discussion.

eunuch, unique
eunuch (YOO nuhk) (noun)
A man who has been castrated: It was said that Cleopatra employed several private servants; the favorite eunuch among her servants was allowed to carry her fan.
unique (yoo NEEK) (adjective)
Unequaled, distinctive, one of a kind; typically used without qualifying modifiers: The color of Daphine's eyes was unique, or exceptional, and enchanting.

The senior eunuch in the court was in a unique position to know all the court intrigues.

evade, invade
evade (i VAYD) (verb)
To avoid in a dexterous manner, turn aside, baffle: Silas tried to evade telling the truth by giving ambiguous answers to the police.
invade (in VAYD) (verb)
To encroach with the intent to take over, conquer, or to plunder: The weeds in the field will invade the garden unless they are cut down.

The speaker tried to evade questions that were being asked about the efforts of a large educational publisher to invade the small country school systems.

ever, never
ever (EV uhr) (adverb)
1. Always; at all times: Galen was ever hoping that he would strike it rich.
2. At any time: The crime rate is higher now than it has ever been.
3. To a greater degree: Technology in recent years has become ever more sophisticated.

never (NEV uhr) (adverb)
Not ever; on no occasion; at no time: Charles had never been there before.

You can never be sure about much of anything these days.

It is ever true, as some authors have said, that you can never go home again.

Pointing to explanation of homonyms, homophones, and homographs, etc. Confusing Words: Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs; explained and demonstrated.

Pointing back to Confusing Words Quizzes, Part AConfusing Words: Units, Groups A to Z.