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.

loam, loan, lone
loam (LOHM) (noun)
1. A composition for plastering that is made primarily of wet clay: The workers mixed an excellent loam for plastering the interior of the African cottage.
2. Soil which is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt: The gardener was happy with the new loam for the flower beds.
loan (LOHN) (noun)
The temporary use of something; for example, property or money for a set period of time and for a set fee which must be repaid within a specific time frame: Sam agreed to the bank’s terms for the loan so he could complete his education.
lone (LOHN) (adjective)
Solitary, without any company: Brittany was the lone student who had enrolled in the reading course.

The lone farmer went to the bank to ask for a loan so he could purchase some loam for his flower beds and field crops.

loath, loathe
loath (LOHTH, silent or soft as in think or nothing) (adjective)
Not willing to undertake an activity which is against the individual's personal beliefs: Marla was loath to borrow the money from her friend even though she wanted to buy the new shoes.
loathe (LOTH, silent or soft as in think or nothing) (verb)
To feel a disgust or a great dislike: Trina is loathe to get her feet wet in the winter.

Green beans are something Todd will loathe; however, because he is a guest for dinner, he is loath to say anything about it.

local, locale
local (LOH kuhl) (adjective)
1. Not generally widespread, relating to a specific location: The sudden local storm did not affect other parts of the countryside.
2. Serving or representing a limited and specific area: Lenora tries to buy local produce during the summer.
locale (loh KAL) (noun)
A specific place relating to a site or a particular event: Russell and Francine enjoyed the locale of the countryside near their friend's home.

The famous local author wrote an excellent description of the locale of the mining village.

loch, lock, lock
loch (LAHKH, LAHK) (noun)
A lake or an arm of the sea similar to a fjord: This is the famous loch where a monster is alleged to be living.
lock (LAHK) (noun)
1. A device operated by a key, combination, or keycard and used, as on a door, for holding, closing, or securing something: When Millie bought her condominium, she changed the lock on the front door.
2. A section of a waterway, such as a canal, closed off with gates, in which vessels in transit are raised or lowered by raising or lowering the water level of that section: After Shelby and Fred paid their fees, the master of the lock allowed them to move their boat into the lock and raised them to the next level of the river.
3. A ringlet or small bunch of hair: Craig carried a lock of Estella's hair to remind himself how much he missed her.
lock (LAHK) (verb)
To secure or to fix something in place, typically using a key: Alan will lock the gate after the last person goes home.

The controller of the lock used an electric key to unlock the lock between the river and the loch.

locks, lox
locks (LAHKS) (noun)
1. Devices which are operated by a key, combination, or keycard, and used, as on a door, for holding, closing, or securing it: There were double locks on the doors to allow entry to the High Security area of the factory.
2. Sections of a waterway; for example, a canal that is closed off with gates, in which vessels in transit are raised or lowered by raising or lowering the water level of that section: The tourists entered a series of locks on the river to travel from one lake to the next.
3. A person's hair: People couldn't help but appreciate, or envy, Marissa's curly locks.
lox (LAHKS) (noun)
1. Smoked salmon: Phillip and Ronda had bagels and lox for lunch.
2. Liquid oxygen, especially when used as a rocket fuel oxidizer or for medical treatment [l(liquid) + ox(yen)]: LOX is a common liquid oxidizer propellant for spacecraft rocket applications, usually in combination with liquid hydrogen or kerosene.

The dermatologist used lox to get rid of the warts on her feet.

The fish dealer kept the lox behind the doors with special locks.

locus, locust
locus (LOH kuhs) (noun)
The focus or center of an activity: The sports stadium was the locus of the students' activities.
locust (LOH kuhst) (noun)
1. A grasshopper, which is one of many, that swarms in and devastates an area of vegetation: The farmers were not fearful of an invasion of just one locust but of multitudes of them during the summer.
2. One of several hard wood, leguminous trees: Marla has a locust in her garden to provide shade.

The locus of the invasion of the locust, and its multitudes of relatives, was the grain fields and each tree that is a locust which grows along the river.

loom, loom; loon, loon; lune, lune
loom (LOOM) (verb)
1. To appear in a large, strange, or frightening form often in a sudden way: The ship was seen to loom up out of the fog.
2. To appear in an impressively large or great form: The mountains loom above the valley.
3. To be close to happening: A workers' strike is about to loom.
4. To have great importance or influence: Rising tuition costs loom large in the minds of many parents and those students who want to go to colleges or universities.
loom (LOOM) (noun)
A frame or machine that is used to weave threads or yarns to produce cloth: Mary's grandmother often used a loom to make cloth for her family's wearing apparel.

Before Toyota started to manufacture automobiles, the company developed, and used, an automatic loom invented by Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Group.

The automatic loom was a machine that could spin thread for cloth and it weaved textiles automatically. In those early days, back-strap looms, ground looms, and high-warp looms were used to manually weave cloth.

In 1896, Sakichi Toyoda invented Japan's first self-powered loom called the "Toyoda Power Loom". Later, he incorporated numerous revolutionary inventions into his looms, including the weft-breakage automatic stopping device, which automatically stopped the loom when a thread breakage was detected, the warp supply device, and the automatic shuttle changer.

Since the loom stopped when a problem arose, no defective products were produced. This meant that a single operator could be put in charge of numerous looms, resulting in a tremendous improvement in productivity.

—Compiled from excerpts seen on the website of
Toyota Motor Corporation Global Website.
loon (LOON) (noun)
A crazy person: Some people say that Russell is a complete loon.
loon (LOON) (noun)
A large bird that lives in the northern parts of the world and which eats fish and has a loud and distinctive cry: When Estella was on the coast, she could hear one loon after another making their screeching sounds.
lune (LOON) (noun)
1. In geometry, a figure resembling a crescent, formed on a plane or sphere by two arcs of circles: Todd drew a lune so he could explain what it was.
2. Anything shaped like a crescent: There are examples of figures that are lune in shape.
lune (LOON) (noun)
In hawking, a leash for hawks: Victor had a lune attached to his hawk as he carried the bird out to the field for training.

Trish spent the day working on her loom and was so tired that she walked to the window where she could see a loon swimming in the lake. As she watched, a man with a hawk on a lune strolled along the beach. Trish thought that the man must be a complete loon to be walking in such a strong wind.

loose, lose
loose (LOOS) (adjective)
1. Not fitting closely: Shawn's new jacket has a loose fit, which is fashionable.
2. Unrestrained: "Foot loose and fancy free" is an expression to suggest someone is unattached and can enjoy him or herself.
3. Not compact or dense: The loose gravel on the road made driving difficult.
4. Allowing for free interpretation: That is a loose translation of the President’s speech.
lose (LOOZ) (verb)
1. To misplace something from a typical location: Bonita tends to lose her glasses when she is busy.
2. Not keeping something under constraint or to confine; failure to maintain a thing: Myrna is afraid that she will lose control and start to cry at the movie.

When Jill is hiking, she is always afraid that she will lose her balance and fall.

3. Failure to stay focused on a subject or idea: Jack asked, "Did Lucy lose your attention when she was speaking?"

An example of how some people misuse lose and loose:

"I just got my kindle 2 last week and It is wonderful for reading. I suffer from double vision and even with corrective lenses I often loose my place in print books. The Kindle allows me to increase the font size so that I can read easily and fast with out loosing my place.

—An actual quote from a writer on the internet."

It is easy to lose one's keys; especially, if they are dropped on the loose gravel in the driveway. When that happens, Wayne is always afraid that he will lose his temper and give a loose rendition of a speech that is filled with indecorous (improper) terms.

loot, loot, lute
loot (LOOT) (noun)
1. That which has been taken illegally or through violence: The pirates' loot was splendid and the jewels glittered in the sun.
2. A casual expression referring to gifts which can be taken away by children from a party: Each child had a bag of loot to take home after the birthday party.
loot (LOOT) (verb)
To rob or to steal, usually accompanied by violence: The highway robbers threatened to loot the stagecoach if the driver did not cooperate.
lute (LOOT) (noun)
1. A stringed musical instrument which has a rounded body like a pear, a fingerboard, and is tuned by turning pegs on the head: The lute is a gentle instrument which was played to accompany the singer in her recital.
2. Clay or a similar substance which, when packed around pipes, etc., is used to protect against the leakage of liquid or gas: When Henry, the plumber, had completed his work, he coated the pipes and joints with lute to prevent moisture from leaking out of them.

Included in the loot from the break in was an ancient lute which was worth a fortune.

lore, lower, lower
lore (LOHR) (noun)
1. Traditional knowledge learned through study or experience: For her dissertation, Zelda studied and wrote about the lore of the sailors on the whaling ships.
2. The small distance between the eyes of a bird and the bill or similarly in reptiles or fish: The scientist developed specialized instruments to measure the lore of the water birds.
lower (LOHR) (verb)
1. To look gloomy or threatening: Dan's face appeared to lower after reading the news in the paper.
2. To let down; to reduce in height: It is time to lower the flag.
lower (LOHR) (adjective)
1. Representing the typically larger and more representative section in a bicameral legislature: Fern was proud to be elected to the lower house of government as she thought she would be more effective there.
2. Descriptive of rank, order, or physical location that is under or below something or someone else: Jillian's chair is lower than the others because she is short and her feet would not touch the floor otherwise.

The lore of the lower river valley was rich and varied.

lucre, looter
lucre (LOO kuhr) (noun)
Profit or money: Sometimes there is some lucre to be had in the stock market.
looter (LOOT uhr) (noun)
An individual who engages in stealing or taking property typically through force: The pirate was a looter for several years before he was caught.

The looter took a valuable latten plate and tried to sell it for lucre before he was caught by the police.

lugubrious, salubrious
lugubrious (loo GOO bree uhs, loo GYOO bree uhs) (adjective)
Mournful or an exaggerated sadness: Danny wore lugubrious mourning clothing although he didn't really feel sad about his uncle's death.
salubrious (suh LOO bree uhs) (adjective)
Promoting good health or well-being: The mountain air is considered salubrious or pleasant and comfortable.

Wearing heavy lugubrious clothing on a hot day is not salubrious for one's life.

lumbar, lumber, lumber, lumber
lumbar (LUM buhr, lum BAHR) (adjective)
Relating to the area between the thoracic vertebrae and the region of the sacrum or pelvis: When he fell, Tom injured the lumbar region of his back and was in considerable pain.
lumber (LUM buhr) (verb)
To move heavily often as a result of carrying great weight: The weight of the luggage caused the porter to lumber across the station platform.
lumber (LUM buhr) (noun)
Logs or lengths of wood that are cut specifically to be used for construction: Jesse bought extra lumber because he was building a wooden fence around his property in the back.
lumber (LUM buhr) (adjective)
Descriptive of the store or location which sells prepared wood products: Leonard went to the lumber yard to buy the wood that he needed to build a shed in his backyard.

When he tried to lift a heavy load of lumber, he pulled a muscle in the lumbar area of his back and so he had to go for physiotherapy.

lung, lunge
lung (LUNG) (noun)
A respiratory organ of vertebrates, often occurring in pairs: The doctor listened to Ingrid's lung in an effort to detect any infection that might exist.
lunge (LUNJ) (verb)
1. To make a sudden forward reach or jab accompanied by a leaning or stepping forward: Martin's fencing instructor showed him how to lunge with his sword or foil.

People could see the crocodile lunge at its prey.

2. A sudden forward movement: Phillip made a desperate lunge to catch the ball.

To monitor the health of Janine's lung, which had a touch of pneumonia, the doctor listened to it before and after he had her lunge forward and backward several times.

luxuriant, luxurious
luxuriant (lug ZHOOR ee uhnt, luk SHOOR uhnt) (adjective)
Fertile, abundant: There was a luxuriant crop of clover in the fields.
luxurious (lug ZHOOR ee uhs, luk SHOOR ee uhs) (adjective)
Exceedingly costly or self-indulgent: There appeared to be luxurious rugs on the floor of the palace.

Sabina feels very luxurious whenever she goes to the spa.

Whenever Mark went to the luxurious spa, he noticed the luxuriant growth of tropical flowers in the garden.

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