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

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

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

jail, gaol; prison, penitentiary
jail (JAYL); British, gaol (JAYL) (noun)
1. A place for the confinement of people in lawful detention; especially, those who are awaiting trial under local jurisdiction: Jeremy was locked up in the county jail for driving while drunk.

Mildred was arrested for drunkenness and spent a night in the city jail.

2. A short-term detaining facility for those waiting trial or for those convicted of minor offenses: Aaron was kept in the city jail while he was being tried for murder and, if convicted, he would be sent to the state prison.
prison; penitentiary (PRIZ uhn; pen" i TEN shuh ree) (noun)
A long-term detention facility for those convicted of major, or more serious crimes: After spending six months in the city jail during his trial, Carlos was then sentenced to life in the state prison.

Trina was sentenced to forty years in a federal penitentiary for the crime that she committed.

In British English, there is no clear difference between jail and prison; and the word penitentiary is apparently not used in Great Britain.

The alleged criminal was held in the local jail which his British lawyer always referred to as the local gaol while his client was awaiting his trial.

When he was found guilty and sentenced, Adam was sent to the state penitentiary which his lawyer referred to as a prison.

jam; jamb, jambe
jam (JAM) (noun)
1. A food usually made from fruit: Karen likes to have strawberry jam on her peanut butter sandwiches.
2. A predicament: Rob exclaimed, "Boy! Did JoAnn ever get herself into a jam when she missed her bus."
3. A crowd: Have you ever been caught in the subway jam during the busy hours?
jamb, jambe (JAM) (noun)
An upright surface forming the side of an opening such as a door or window: Nathan was leaning against the door jamb to watch the children play in the backyard.

Tami's mother leaned on the door jamb watching the teens make bread and jam sandwiches. They were going to take the sandwiches to an outdoor concert where they expected a jam of people.

jealous, zealous
jealous (JEL uhs) (adjective)
Intolerant of competition; suspicious of unfaithfulness: Shelby's cat was very jealous of the neighbor’s cat which she was taking care of while her neighbor was on vacation.
zealous (ZEL uhs) (adjective)
Characterized by the passionate or eager pursuit of something: Ralph was zealous in his pursuit of becoming a fine watercolor artist.

In Abigail's zealous pursuit of success as a model, she was not aware that her younger sister was very jealous.

jinks, jinx
jinks (JINGKS) (noun)
Quick movements that make sudden turns and twists, and dodging: The getaway car at the bank robbery raced down the street making many jinks to avoid being caught.
jinx (JINGKS) (verb)
To cause bad luck or misfortune: Some people say that breaking a mirror will jinx you, bringing you seven years bad luck.

Roy's erratic driving, committing many jinks to stay on the roadway, seemed almost to be a jinx on his success as a race car driver.

jog, jog
jog (JAHG) (verb)
1. To run or ride at a steady slow trot: The coach told the players to jog out to their positions on the playing field.
2. To rouse or to stimulate as if by nudging: There was an old photo in the album that might jog Jill's memory.
3. To turn sharply; to veer: This is where the boundary will jog south.

"At first, jog was a training regimen for athletes, then it became a fad in about 1967."

jog (JAHG) (noun)
1. A protruding or receding part in a surface or line: As Chris and Christine observed the mountains from the valley, they could see one jog after the other as they pointed up and went down, again and again.
2. An abrupt change in direction: When Bill came to a jog in the road, he had to make a sharp turn.
3. A slow run done for exercise: Some people depend on a morning jog to give them energy for the day.
4. A light shake or push: Mildred gave Bob a jog with her elbow to stop him from talking so much.

The jog in the road caused Edward's car to jog abruptly to the left. The force of this jog also caused Elisa, who was in the back seat, to jog and to spill her coffee all over her lap.

joust, joust, just
joust (JOUST, JUST) (noun)
A combat between two mounted knights or men-at-arms using lances; a tilting match: The knight put on his armor as he prepared himself for the joust.
joust (JOUST, JUST) (verb)
To engage in a personal combat or competition: American football can be described as players trying to joust with each other when they run into each other, knocking their opponents down.
just (JUST) (adjective)
1. Honorable and fair in one's dealings and action: Her Honor, Judge Smith, was always just in her decisions at court.
2. Valid within the law; lawful: The decision by the judge for the man to pay the traffic fine was a just decision.

The knight tried to assure his lady fair, saying "Don't worry, it is just a joust and no one will be injured."

juggler, jugular
juggler (JUG luhr) (noun)
1. An entertainer who is able to keep several objects in the air at the same time by tossing and catching them from hand to hand: The juggler at the circus enchanted the children with his skills.
2. Someone who attempts to manipulate situations or individuals for a desired purpose: The salesman was quite the juggler in trying to convince the man to buy the used car so he could get a commission.
jugular (JUG yuh luhr) (adjective)
Relating to the area on the neck that includes the veins for returning blood from the head to the heart: When he was angry, his jugular veins could be seen protruding from his neck.

The newspaper reported that the juggler had an accident and one of the knives he was juggling slipped and cut his jugular vein. The juggler was reported recovering in the hospital after the surgeon repaired the jugular vein that was injured.

junction, juncture
junction (JUNGK shuhn) (noun)
An intersection or meeting of roads or railroads: The town was prosperous when it was a railroad junction.
juncture (JUNGK chuhr) (noun)
A point of time made critical by a combination of circumstances: At this juncture, George must make a final regarding his future course.

When Benjamin and his family were traveling across the country by car, they came to a major highway junction. They had to decide if at this juncture in their trip, they should go south or turn east.

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