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

(lists of "U" 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.

udder, utter
udder (UHD uhr) (noun)
The bag-shaped part of a cow, goat, etc., that hangs below the belly and produces milk: "You can milk a cow when the udder is full."
utter (UHT uhr) (verb)
1. To make a particular sound: "Did she really utter a cry of pleasure when you told her the good news?"
2. To say something: "Don't utter a word or say anything about our upcoming marriage."

An udder is the milk faucets on a cow.

—Evan Esar

The cow was heard to utter a sigh of relief after her udder was milked and she was sent back out to pasture for the evening.

umbrella, parasol, sombrero
umbrella (uhm BREL uh) (noun)
1. A device that is used for protection from the rain and sun consisting of a circle of fabric attached to a folding frame that is connected to a central pole or handle: "It is best to take an umbrella when you go out in the rain."
2. A group or organization that includes many smaller groups: "Several stores spread throughout the country are part of this umbrella corporation."
3. Something that includes several or many different things: "This umbrella policy that I have includes liability insurance, car insurance, and household insurance."
parasol (PAR uh sawhl", PAR uh sahl") (noun)
A light umbrella which can be used to protect oneself from the sun: "My mother gave me her parasol when I went on the summer picnic."
sombrero (sahm BRAIR oh, suhm BRAIR oh) (noun)
A type of hat with a very wide brim that is often worn in Mexico and in the southwestern United States to protect the user from the sun: "He always wears his sombrero when he goes out during the hot summer weather."

A man wearing a large sombrero walked down the street with a friend who was carrying a colorful parasol.

They appeared to be going to the meeting of the umbrella organization representing small agencies which were protesting high taxes.

unexceptionable, unexceptional
unexceptionable (uhn" ik SEP shuh nuh buhl) (adjective)
Not likely to cause an objection or offense, but it is usually used to describe something that is good but not outstanding or excellent: "The work she did for the company was unexceptionable; however, she was able to keep her position because she was dependable and always showed up for work on time."
unexceptional (uhn" ik SEP shuh nuhl) (adjective)
Usually not good, interesting, etc.: "As an actress she was unexceptional, but as a singer, she had an exceptional voice."

As an unexceptional banker, she left much to be desired in terms of answering my questions; however, she was unexceptionable when it came to investment management.

uninhabited, uninhibited
uninhabited (uhn" in HAB i tid) (adjective)
Not lived in by people: "Too often there were those who broke into the uninhabited house down the street until it was torn down and replaced with a new restaurant."
uninhibited (uhn" in HIB i tid) (adjective)
Able to express thoughts and feelings freely: "He is often the center of attention because he is so very uninhibited while talking quite openly about his feelings."

For his distance vacation, her cousin went to an uninhabited island; there he felt he could dance on the beach in an uninhibited manner and no one would be able to laugh at him.

unit, unite
unit (YOO nit) (noun)
1. A single thing, person, or group that is a part of something larger: "The basic unit of our society is the family."
2. A part of a hospital where a particular type of care is provided: "My father was put into the intensive care unit after having that bad accident."
3. A particular amount of length, time, money, etc., which is used as a standard for counting or measuring: "The Euro is the principal unit of Euopean currency."
unite (yoo NIGHT) (verb)
1. To join together to do or to achieve something: "The majority of students decided to unite to protest the increase of tuition for the upcoming semester."
2. To cause (two or more people or things) to be joined together and become one thing: "The couple wanted to unite in marriage last spring but couldn't because of the terrible car accident."

The cleaning staff that worked in the emergency unit of the hospital decided to unite and ask for better wages.

university, college
university (yoo" nuh VUR si tee) (noun)
An educational institution that offers courses leading to a degree: such as, a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree and where research is done: "He completed his degree in law at the University of California."
college (KAHL ij) (noun)
1. An educational place in the United States where a person may go after high school and which offers courses leading to a degree; such as, a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree: "He decided first to go to a college to get his bachelor's degree and then to do research for his doctoral degree at the university."
2. A school that offers advanced training in a specified subject: "She was so talented in art that she decided to go to an arts college."

After his cousin finished high school, she had to decide to apply to the well known university which was in another city or to the fine arts program at the college in her town.

unwanted, unwonted
unwanted (un WAHNT id, un WAWNT id) (adjective)
Not desired; not wished for: "She tried to give the unwanted magazines away."
unwonted (un WAWN tid, un WOHN tid, un WUHN tid) (adjective)
1. Not habitual or ordinary; unusual: "She had an unwonted softness in her face."
2. Not normal, usual, or expected: "He was surprised by her unwonted cheerfulness."

His unwanted attentions as a suitor were unwonted and so she told him to go away.

urban, urbane
urban (UHR buhn) (adjective)
Of or relating to cities and the people who live in them: "As an architect she was involved in the development of the urban housing projects in the city."
urbane (uhr BAYN) (adjective)
1. Polite and confident; courteous and refined, as opposed to crude or coarse: "A diplomat must be urbane in order to do his job successfully."
2. Fashionable and somewhat formal: "During our vacation, we really enjoyed the urbane sophistication of the people we met."

The actor was very urbane in his mannerisms which reflected his upbringing as he had always lived in urban centers.

Urbane is the ability to put your foot forward without stepping on someone else's toes.

—Evan Esar
usable, useful
usable (YOO zuh buhl) (adjective)
Capable of being used or in good enough condition to be used: "The antique coffee grinder was still quite usable and we utilized it to grind our coffee each morning for breakfast."
useful (YOOS fuhl) (adjective)
Helping to do or to achieve something: "It is quite useful to type texts on the computer because, for one thing, correcting mistakes is much easier."

Please make yourself useful. You can wash the kitchen utensils which are very usable even though they are old.

use, use, Jews, ewes
use (YOOZ) (verb)
1. To do something with an object, machine, person, method, etc. in order to accomplish a task, do an activity, etc.: "When you are finished talking to Susan on the phone, I'd like to use it please."
2. To treat someone well in order to get something for yourself: "I'm sure he was just trying to use me in that situation because he didn't even say Thank you afterwards and hasn't called since."
use (YOOS) (noun)
The process by which something is performed or some kind of action that takes place: "The children's scissors have become quite dull from constant use over all these years."
Jews (JOOZ) (noun)
People whose religion is Judaism, who are descended from Jewish people, or who participate in the culture surrounding Judaism: "There are Jews in our area who regularly go to their synagogue."
ewes (YOOZ) (noun)
Female sheep: "The shepherd takes care of his rams, ewes, and lambs and makes every effort to secure their safety and good health."

If Jews want to increase the number of sheep in their flocks, they simply must use rams and ewes to make it happen.

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