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

(lists of "L" 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.

leaves, leaves
leaves (LEEVZ) (verb)
1. Going away from a place or from a person: Marla leaves home to go to work and leaves her husband to take care of the children.
2. Putting something in a place for another person to take or to have: The mail carrier leaves the newspaper subscription in box every day except on Sunday.
3. Allowing something to remain available or unused: Make sure Charles leaves some room for an additional chair at the table.
leaves (LEEVZ) (noun)
1. Flat and typically green parts of plants that grow from stems or twigs: Bonita could hear the rustling of the autumn leaves during the evening.
2. Sheets of paper in books, magazines, and other published documents: There were several leaves in the book that were missing or without being printed.

Howard's neighbor leaves his fallen leaves piling up in his yard without ever raking them up.

legislator, legislature
legislator (LEJ i slay" tuhr) (noun)
Someone who creates or enacts laws; especially, a member of a governing body: Lisa said, "Jamie, if you want someone to pass a law, then you should write to your state legislator."
legislature (LEJ i slay" chuhr) (noun)
An officially elected or otherwise selected body of people vested with the responsibility and power to make laws for a political unit; such as, a state or nation: Every state in the U.S. has its own legislature which makes laws for everyone within its jurisdiction.

The results of the recent election resulted in a new aboriginal legislator to sit in the federal legislature.

lend, loan, loan
lend (LEND) (verb)
1. To give money to an individual with the expectation of repayment within a specific time frame: Bruce will lend Effie the money to buy her car and he expects her to repay it in six months.
2. To give support or assistance: Tracie will lend her son her sleeping bag so he can go camping with his friends.
3. To adjust or to accommodate: That topic will lend itself to a valuable discussion in class.
loan (LOHN) (noun)
Something given to an individual for a specific time period; and, if it is money, with an interest rate payable upon repayment: The bank agreed to give Marvin a six month loan to buy a new car at five percent interest.
loan (LOHN) (verb)
To allow someone to borrow something on the condition that it will be returned: Lucinda will loan her friend, Carl, a laptop computer which he will return as soon as his is repaired.

Mildred's school expenses were greater than she had anticipated; so, she will have to ask her father to lend her a substantial loan to help pay for her tuition.

lessee, lesser, lessor
lessee (le SEE) (noun)
An individual who enjoys the use of property or equipment for a specific time period and for a defined cost: The car rental agency asked the driver to sign the contract as the lessee.
lesser (LES uhr) (adjective)
That which is of a smaller quantity or size: When looking at the pumpkins, Mary chose the lesser of the three that were on display.
lessor (LES or, le SOR) (noun)
An individual who owns property, etc. and allows another to use it on a temporary basis for a fee: The landlord, as Jim's lessor, agreed to let him rent the apartment.

It seems to Tami that the lesser of two difficult choices is to go ahead and to sign as a short term lessee with a reputable lessor.

lessen, lesson
lessen (LES uhn) (verb)
To make smaller or to reduce, to diminish: The medication the doctor gave Mable will lessen the pain of her sprained ankle.
lesson (LES uhn) (noun)
1. An excerpt from sacred writings read as part of a religious service or ceremony: The child read the lesson for the morning in a clear voice.
2. Readings or other materials to be studied and learned by a pupil: It is time for Billy to practice his music lesson.

The teacher wanted to decrease the content of her next class presentation; so, she told her students that she will lessen the next lesson.

levee, levy, levy
levee (LEV ee) (noun)
1. A gathering or reception organized by a person of importance, typically first thing in the morning: The governor had his annual levee on New Year’s Day.
2. An embankment or dike to prevent flooding: The engineers designed a new levee on the river after the recent devastating floods.
levy (LEV ee) (verb)
To collect or to enlist through an order of legal authority: The mayor attempted to levy construction engineers to assist with the building of houses for the homeless.
levy (LEV ee) (noun)
An amount of money that is collected by a government agent: The town clerk was ordered to collect a levy from the local merchants in anticipation of building a new park in the city.

The town council decided to institute a new levy which would be used to reinforce the old levee by the river.

The announcement of the new levy was made at the annual mayor's levee at the recent holiday.

level, level, level
level (LEV uhl) (noun)
1. At a specific height: Sean decided to hang the pictures just above eye level in the studio.
2. A part of a building which is at a specific height: Reservations were made so Nathan and Josie could have good seats in the upper level of the theater.
3. A process of thinking about, talking about, or dealing with something: Philip thought that the politician's position was acceptable on an emotional level, but not on a practical level.
level (LEV uhl) (adjective)
Having a flat or even surface: The campers looked for a level place near the woods for their tents.
level (LEV uhl) (verb)
To direct something; such as, a criticism or a legal action against someone: The police will level a criminal charge against the shoplifter.

Dale, will you level with me? Are the pictures hanging on the right level?

liable, libel, libel, slander
liable (LIGH uh buhl) (adjective)
1. At risk for an accident: Janet warned, "Luis, be careful on the ladder because you are liable to fall."
2. Legally responsible: Jack said, "Ronda, you are liable for the repayment of your bank loan."
3. Bound or obliged in law or equity; responsible; chargeable; answerable; compelled to make satisfaction, compensation, or restitution: Borrowers are liable for the repayment for any loans they make with financial institutions.

The husband and wife were told that they were liable for their debts to the store.

libel (LIGH buhl) (noun)
A statement (written or oral) that expresses an unjust impression: The angry statements in the newspaper appeared almost to be statements of libel.
libel (LIGH buhl) (verb)
Uttering or publishing slanderous, treasonable, or obscene statements about someone: The defeated candidate tried to libel his opponents after the election.
slander (SLAN duhr) (noun)
Oral statements that defame another person's reputation; false charges: It is inappropriate to utter such slander about a neighbor.

Bryan lost his job on the basis of slander brought against him by a fellow worker.

The foreman was informed that he would be liable for any damage that was done to the reputation of the factory as the result of any libel or slander that was spread during the strike.

liar, lyre
liar (LIGH uhr) (noun)
An individual who makes statements which are untrue and not based on fact: Jesse was such a frequent liar that no one would believe him even when he did tell the truth.
lyre (LIGHR) (noun)
A stringed instrument of the harp family having two curved arms connected at the upper end by a crossbar, used to accompany a singer or reciter of poetry; especially, in ancient Greece: The frieze around the ancient temple depicted many performers each of whom was playing a lyre.

Estella was no liar when she said she was an expert performer on the lyre because she was a fantastic performer!

Norman was wondering if the stringed musical instrument was a liar (lacking in veracity), because it was called a lyre.

A liar is a person who, when he dies, lies still.

—Evan Esar
liberal, libertarian, libertine, liberty
liberal (LIB uhr uhl, LIB ruhl) (adjective)
1. Generous and openhanded: William's father was liberal in his allowance each week.
2. Not exact or precise: The translation of the lecture notes was not liberal but it was meaningful anyway.
3. Broad minded, not traditional: Elisa's upbringing was very liberal.
4. When capitalized, it is a member of a certain political party in the United Kingdom and in Canada: The Liberal candidate won the election by a wide margin.
libertarian (lib" uhr TAIR ee uhn) (noun)
A supporter of the principles of free will including unrestricted freedoms in thought, actions, etc.: The actions of a libertarian must be balanced against the protocols and expectations of society.
libertine (LIB uhr teen") (noun)
1. A free thinker in matters of religious thought, a reference that is often used in a disparaging manner: As a religious libertine, Lenora's uncle gained a reputation for being irreverent.
2. An individual who is disdainful of convention and morality: Dale acted as a libertine, exploring the bars and places of poor reputation.
liberty (LIB uhr tee) (noun)
1. Freedom from physical or arbitrary control: Lucinda treasures her liberty; especially, after she read the headlines in the newspapers.
2. Opportunity or choice: Karin has the liberty to decide between two careers.
3. Risk, moving away from typical practice: By smoking and heavy drinking, Mark was taking severe liberty with his health.
4. A short, authorized leave, usually in the context of military organizations: Leonard asked for and was granted a 48-hour liberty to visit his family.

The captain of the ship was liberal when he granted shore liberty to the crew; however, he cautioned each one not to act as a libertine even though the captain himself was considered a libertarian.

lichen, liken
lichen (LIGH kuhn) (noun)
One of several thallophytic (Lichenes) that are crusty patches or bushy growths on tree trunks or rocks or on ground, etc.: The lichen on the rocks was multicolored and fascinating.
liken (LIGH kuhn) (verb)
To compare as similar: In Jeff's poem, the author tried to liken the shine in Diana's eyes to the stars in the sky.

It is a fair comparison to liken mistletoe to lichen since they both grow in a symbiotic relationship with their hosts.

lick, lick
lick (LIK) (verb)
1. To pass the tongue over a surface, an object, etc.: The dog wanted to lick its dish before going outside.
2. Informal, to defeat someone in a fight or contest: Sean is bigger, but Florence's brother thinks he can lick the guy in wrestling.
lick (LIK) (noun)
1. An act of passing the tongue over something: The cat gave the bowl a lick.

The dog was trying to get a lick of the cat's eating dish.

2. A small amount: The chair needs just a lick of paint right there on the leg.

Mike hasn't done a lick of work today.

Aunt Polly threatened to lick her nephew if he tried to lick his plate before going out to apply a lick of paint to the fence; but, her nephew got distracted with a fight as he tried to lick another boy who called him a bad name.

licorice, lickerish
licorice (LIK uhr is, LIK uhr ish) (noun)
A confection made from or flavored with the root of a plant which is used as a flavoring in candy, liqueurs, tobacco, and medicines: The children enjoyed chewing on the strips of licorice which made their tongues black.
lickerish (LIK uhr ish) (adjective)
Greedy, desirous; lecherous: The role in the film was of a lickerish old man and the actor was interested in the part because it would expand his acting experience and reputation.

Ann smacked her lips in a lickerish way in anticipation of the new flavored licorice candy she saw at the candy store.

lie, lie, lye
lie (LIGH) (noun)
A deceptive or misleading statement, typically spoken on purpose: Marissa told a terrible lie which caused a lot of problems for her sister.
lie (LIGH) (verb)
1. To state something that is false and not based on fact: Allen promised to lie about where Jim's friend was last night.
2. To rest in a recumbent and horizontal position: Lenora decided to lie on the sofa for a few minutes to rest after her busy afternoon.
lye (LIGH) (noun)
The liquid obtained by leaching wood ashes: In the Pioneer Museum, the staff demonstrated how to use lye to make soap.

It would be a lie if Bonita told Trina that she made the lye at home when she actually bought it at the store so she could lie on the sofa sooner.

light, light, lite
light (LIGHT) (adjective)
1. Having little weight or less weight than usual: Samuel made every effort to make sure his suitcase was light enough to carry to the bus depot.

The backpack was light enough for Jimmy to carry.

2. Not dark or of a deep color: Delores has light hair and a light complexion.
light (LIGHT) (noun)
1. The discharge of electricity in the atmosphere: The thunderstorm was accompanied by a display of light that was very bright.
2. A form of energy that makes it possible to see things; especially, at night: It was time to turn on the living room light.

During the storm, Lenora and her family had to use candles so they could have enough light to see their way around because the electricity was cut off.

lite (LIGHT) (adjective)
Typically a North American reference to a food product that is calorie reduced: Adriana always tries to buy lite cheese instead of rich, fat cheese.

Because Ed wants to be light on his feet, he tends to eat lite cheese. His favorite lite cheese is light yellow in color and is made in Oregon, USA.

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