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

(lists of "Q" 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.

quack, quack
quack (KWAK) (noun)
1. The voice characteristic of a water bird with short legs, webbed feet, and a large flat beak: The quack of Trudy's pet duck is the first sound she hears each morning.
2. An individual who pretends to be a medical doctor; someone whose medical practice is suspect or not authorized; a charlatan: Mildred always joked that she was going to see her quack about her arthritis.

That quack almost killed Marvin's brother by prescribing the wrong medication.

quack (KWAK) (verb)
To make a noise in order to attract a specific wild bird to a location: The hunter will quack like a duck to lure his prey to the marsh.

The quack doctor had a signature laugh which sounded just like the quack of a duck.

quail, quail
quail (KWAYL) (verb)
To recoil with dread or terror; to falter: The unexpected sounds from the attic made Sally quail in fear of a ghost.

Peter was determined that he would not quail in the face of danger.

quail (KWAYL) (noun)
A migratory game bird found in Europe and North America: First thing in the morning, Marjory often sees a quail or two in the garden.

The quail is a timid bird; if it hears a loud sound, it will quail and huddle close to the ground so it won't be seen.

quake, quake
quake (KWAYK) (verb)
1. To shake or to quiver because of fear, anger, etc.: Anita's knees began to quake after she heard about the horrible accident on the highway.
2. To shake violently: The explosion made the whole house quake.
quake (KWAYK) (noun)
An experience of shaking or trembling; for example, a severe earth tremor: After the primary quake, the scientists reported there were several aftershocks felt in the earthquake zone.

Ryan's first reaction to the earth quake was to quake in his boots and run out of the house into the open area.

quant, quant
quant (KWAHNT) (noun)
A highly paid computer specialist with a degree in a branch of quantitative science, employed by a financial house to predict the future price movements of securities, commodities, currencies, etc.: Clarence is a quant who designs and implements mathematical models for the pricing of derivatives, assessments of risks, or predicting market movements.

A statistical arbitrage quant works on finding patterns in data to suggest automated trades.

quant (KWAHNT) (noun)
A long pole that is used to propel a boat; especially, by pushing it on the bottom of a river or a lake: Louis made the boat move across the lake with a quant.

Mary Quant was a British designer during the 1960s. It was said that her models were often photographed sitting in a boat using a quant to propel it across the lake.

Rumor had it that given her financial success, Mary Quant hired a professional quant to promote her stock in the financial markets.

quarry, quarry
quarry (KWOR ee, KWAHR ee) (noun)
The target or objective of a hunt or pursuit: On Howard's photography expedition, he looked for his quarry in the meadows and marshlands.
quarry (KWOR ee, KWAHR ee) (noun)
1. An open pit or excavation from which to cut and to remove stone typically for building purposes: Trudy has an old rock quarry on her property which she uses as a swimming hole during the summer.
2. A diamond shaped piece of glass or tile: Over the front door was a decorative pane of glass comprised of blue and red quarry.

While pursuing Victor's quarry, he found himself on the precipice of the abandoned stone quarry.

quarts, quartz
quarts (KWARTS) (noun)
1. U.S. units of liquid measurements equal to two U.S. pints or 0.946 liters each: Earl's sister told him that she put three quarts of tomatoes in the freezer to use in the winter.
2. British units of liquid measurements equal to two British pints or 1.14 liters each: The hostess served her guests two quarts of liquid refreshments.
quartz (KWARTS) (noun)
A mineral (silicon dioxide) that occurs in colorless, transparent, or tinted hexagonal crystals: Sabina's aunt collected a beautiful piece of pink quartz which she displayed on a shelf in the bookcase.

Helena was an avid collector of pieces of quartz from all around the world and she had several quarts of quartz pieces exhibited on the mantle in her living room.

query, query, question, question, quest, quest, inquiry
query (KWIR ee) (noun)
A question, an inquiry, or a doubt: Janine said she had a query for the politician about the claims that he just made in his speech.
query (KWIR ee) (verb)
To ask questions or to seek authoritative information: James wanted to query his astronomy professor about the phases of the moon.
question (KWES chuhn) (verb)
1. To examine or to interrogate in an intensive manner: Jennifer was afraid the school principal will want to question her about the broken window.
2. To examine or to analyze: The lab technician was determined to question every aspect of the experiment before writing her report.
question (KWES chuhn) (noun)
1. A request or order to bring a matter under discussion to a vote in a meeting: At the union meeting, the president called the question before everyone had an opportunity to speak.
3. Opportunity for a doubt or an objection: There is no question that he is a fine doctor and surgeon.
4. The act or instance of asking for information: In the morning, Tony will pose a question to his daughter about the film she went to see.
quest (KWEST) (verb)
To search or to ask for: Lorna plans to quest at the baking supply store about where to buy the best chocolate.
quest (KWEST) (noun)
1. An investigation or search: The police were on a quest to find the source of leaked information.
2. A chivalrous undertaking typically involving an adventurous trip or journey often associated with medieval literature: The knight went on a quest to find the beautiful girl of his dreams.
inquiry (in KWIGHR ee, IN kwighr" ee) (noun)
1. A well-organized and systematic investigation, often into a matter of public interest: After the scandal broke, the prime minister ordered an inquiry into the misspent funds.
2. An appeal or request for information: Stanley will make an inquiry at the library information desk about the film he wants to borrow.

In its quest to understand the difficult issues facing the hospital, the board members demanded an inquiry be undertaken to answer the question: What happened to the significant donations received last year?

This was the query of Ms. Jones who wished to make a donation but wanted an accounting of all previous gifts and donations.

quick, quick
quick (KWIK) (adjective)
Prompt, rapid, fast: Her quick footsteps were heard in the hallway.

Jane said, "Hey, Dale, you will have to be quick if you want to get tickets for the concert tomorrow."

quick (KIWK) (noun)
1. Sensitive flesh; a part of the body that is susceptible to keen feeling; especially, the part of a finger or toe to which the nail is attached: Susana's harsh words cut him to the quick.
2. Alive; living; animate; as opposed to dead or inanimate: An archaic term, quick is known mostly from the Bible (the quick and the dead).

Leonard's quick response to Fay's query cut her to the quick. She only wanted to know if the wonderful character in his novel was quick or dead by the end of the novel.

quiet, quite
quiet (KWIGH uht) (noun)
Freedom from noise: Shanna enjoyed the quiet of the river flowing silently past the bridge.
quite (KWIGHT) (adverb)
1. To a very noticeable degree or extent: Vincent goes out to eat quite frequently.
2. Wholly, completely, entirely, or truly: Rodney's statement about the weather is quite true.

Tamika told the repairman that she was quite capable of fixing this part herself.

Consuelo noticed that it was quite quiet in the library this evening.

quill, quill, quill
quill (KWIL) (noun)
1. A float used on a fishing line: Brian used a red quill when he went fishing so he could see where his fishing line went into the water.
2. A spindle upon which to wind yarn: Before Nell could start to use her loom, she needed to wind the yarn on the quill.
quill (KWIL) (noun)
1. The hollow stem or barrel of a feather or spine of a porcupine (a large rodent whose body is covered with sharp spines): Stanley found a quill from a seagull on the beach and took it home to show his sister.

The native artist used the quill from the porcupine to create elaborate designs on the cloak of the chief.

2. A pen used for writing that is made from the hollow stem or barrel of a feather: Marvin's mother used a quill in order to print carefully on the paper.
quill (KWIL) (verb)
The process by which one makes small ridges in cloth: Aaron watched his teacher quill the frill on the apron she was making.

Adam's cousin, who had an avid interest in fishing, learned to be very creative. When she needed a new quill for her fishing line, she would use a quill or two from a porcupine that were fastened to her fishing line.

Mollie liked to be old-fashioned and used a quill pen to write directions on how to use a quill to make a quill to use for fishing.

quiver, quiver
quiver (KWIV uhr) (noun)
1. A shaking sound, movement, or feeling that is caused by fear or some other strong emotions: Luis could hear a quiver in Jillian's voice as she explained her concern about the doctor's medical prognosis.

Goldie felt a quiver of anticipation as she came closer to the completion of her project.

2. The case for holding and carrying arrows or the arrows so carried: The artist used the quill from the porcupine to decorate the quiver for the arrows which the hunter would use.
quiver (KWIV uhr) (verb)
To tremble or to shake with a slight motion: The leaves on the trees started to quiver when the breeze passed through the garden.

Rosetta was excited about the archery competition, but she was afraid that her hand might quiver and it would be difficult for her to get an arrow from the quiver on her back quickly enough to win the archery competition.

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