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

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

A classic story tells how Plato had defined man as a featherless two-tooted animal, and his students agreed. The next day, Diogenes pulled the feathers off a cock and took it to Plato.

"Here's Plato's man," he said.

It was an embarrassing moment for Plato. Thereafter he corrected the definition to "a featherless two-footed animal with flat nails".

Ever since Plato's description, man has never ceased to define man, and has constantly sought a more meaningful self-definition. Voltaire altered the Platonic version, in Candide, to "man is a featherless biped with a soul".

Another unknown author created, "Man is the only animal that eats when he is not hungry, and drinks when he is not thirsty."

—Compiled from the "Foreword" of
Esar's Comic Dictionary by Evan Esar;
Doubleday & Company, Inc.; Garden City, New York; 1983.

Efforts have been made to help you grasp the meanings of various words that may be confusing so you can utilize them with greater accuracy in your communication.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome by writing to: E-mail Contact (just click it for an e-mail form) or by typing, [email protected], as the address in your e-mail heading.

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

blond, blonde
blond (BLOND) (noun)
A boy or man with light hair, blue eyes, and fair skin: The use of blond in the past was limited to a male; however, now it is used interchangeably for both genders.
blonde (BLOND)(noun)
A girl or woman with golden hair, light eyes and skin: Some people have been using blonde instead of "blond" for female genders.

Stacie has a stunning picture of her family where it shows her nephew, who is a blond, standing next to her sister, who is also a genuine blonde.

boar, Boer, boor, bore
boar (BOHR) (noun)
A male swine or pig: We just saw a wild boar running into the woods.
Boer (BOHR) (noun)
A Dutch colonist or a descendant of a Dutch colonist in South Africa: An Afrikaner is another name for a Boer or a person who was born, raised, and lived in South Africa.
boor (BOOR) (noun)
A person with rude, clumsy manners, and little refinement; often referred to as a peasant: Because the farmer often acted like a boor, the people in the village usually tried to stay away from him.
bore (BOHR) (verb)
1. To make weary by being dull, repetitive, monotonous, or tedious: Josie warned her friends that if they go to see the film, it will bore them.
2. To make a hole in or through something as with a drill: Calvin wanted to bore a hole in the door frame for a new lock.

When the hunter talks about hunting boar, he may be considered a bore by others.

A male pig that has nothing to do but lie around is just a boar that is just a bore.

A bore is a person who talks when we wish he would listen.

—Ambrose Bierce

Trina's uncle was a Boer who liked to hunt boar, but he was a real contrast to her other uncle who was such a bore and whose manners gave people a strong impression that he was a real boor.

board, board, bored
board (BORD, BOHRD) (noun)
1. A flat, thin slab of sawed wood: They nailed a board over the broken window.
2. An organized group of people who manage or direct a company or an organization: Carol sits on the bank's board of directors; so, now she's a member of the board at Leo's bank.
3. Daily meals which one can pay for when a person is paying to stay at a hotel, school, etc.: Greg is looking for a place that provides board and lodging as he starts to plan his trip.
board (BORD, BOHRD) (verb)
1. To get into or onto an airplane, a bus, a train, etc.: Everyone must have a ticket in order to board the train.

The pirates tried to board the ship, but they were fought off by an armed guard.

2. To cover or to close something with pieces of wood: The caretaker wanted to board up the windows before the storm arrived.
bored (BORD, BOHRD) (adjective)
Weariness caused by being in the company of someone who is dull, tedious, long-winded, etc.: Melba told her friend that she was bored to death by such long meetings.

Warren appreciates the fact that his friend is a good sounding board and not sounding bored in response.

It would appear that the uninterested directors of a business are nothing more than a bored board.

Parents are people who bear infants, bore teen-agers, and board newlyweds.

—E.C. McKenzie

Tami and Jacob were feeling a bit bored on board the ship when suddenly a gang of pirates attempted to board the vessel.

After they had been very disturbed about this, the Captain said the pirates were a stunt to break up the monotony for those who were bored on board this cruise ship.

boarder, border
boarder (BOR dur, BOR duhr) (noun)
1. A lodger or resident who receives regular meals as part of the rent or payment for a room: The ranch has more than one summer boarder who likes to holiday in the country.
2. A lodger who receives meals regularly at a fixed price: To earn extra money, they took in a boarder.
border (BOR dur, BOR duhr) (noun)
1. An edge, a rim, a perimeter: Summer cottages were built all around the border of the lake.
2. A frontier, a boundary: Do you need a passport to cross the Canadian border?
3. To be next to, to adjoin: California has a border with the Pacific Ocean.
4. A trim, a hem: The seamstress sewed a border of flowers on the dress.

A renter's boundary, or limitation, in a room and board situation is said to be a boarder border.

boat, ship, ship
boat (BOHT) (noun)
A waterborne vessel which is propelled by means of oars, paddles, power: The students paddled their small red boat on the river, winning the race.
ship (SHIP) (noun)
A large seagoing vessel that is propelled by power or sail: The large ship, carrying fruit, sailed carefully through the Panama Canal.
ship (SHIP) (verb)
1. To transport on a waterborne vessel: Tami will ship her new car by freighter to England.
2. To send away: Zachary's plan is to ship his boys off to boarding school when they are older.

Monroe noticed that the ship he was on had a large life boat in case of an emergency.

bode, bowed
bode (BOHD) (verb)
1. Past tense of the verb "bide"; to wait or to continue in a situation or condition: Due to the weather, the travelers had to bode the completion of their travels until the ice storm ended.
2. To anticipate or to foretell; to predict: The reading of the astrological signs bode great happiness for the newlywed couple.
bowed (BOU'd, BOH'd) (verb)
1. To incline one’s head and back, bending forward from the waist: As the hearse passed by, the villagers bowed respectfully.
2. To submit, to yield, to stoop: The old baroness felt bowed by the responsibilities of her position in the castle.
3. To play a stringed musical instrument using a bow, which is a slightly curved piece of special wood with horse hair stretched from end to end: The young girl bowed her violin with precision, creating lovely music.

The write up in the newspaper seemed to bode well for the concert tonight. The musician was excellent and bowed his cello with ease.

bogey, bogy
bogey (BOH gee) (noun)
One stroke over par in a game of golf: The champion claimed a bogey over her closest competition.
bogy, bogey, bogie (BOH gee) (noun)
1. A goblin; an evil spirit: The children huddled in their beds after listening to stories about a bogy.
2. A person or thing which is feared: Tales abound about a bogy who rides a black horse on dark, moonless nights.

There are many myths about golfers and the game. One story was that in order to have a bogey in the competition, a person must commune with the bogie that haunted the golf course.

bold, bowled
bold (BOHLD) (adjective)
1. Having courage, being fearless, daring: The captain of the ship was bold in the face of pirates who tried to board his ship.

This area was settled by bold pioneers.

2. Unduly forward; brazen: The mother cautioned her small child not to be bold when talking with older people.

If I may be so bold, I'd like to offer a few points of criticism.

bowled (BOHLD) (verb)
1. To roll a ball or rounded object on a surface; such as, grass or a hard surface: The team cheered when the last player bowled a perfect score.
2. In the game of cricket, to deliver the ball to the batsman: The batsman bowled the final round to win the cricket competition.
3. To surprise: Maggie's sudden arrival completely bowled her mother over because she was not expecting her daughter until the next day.

Virginia's sister was very bold and so she decided to surprise their mother on her birthday and, as a result, their Mom was completely bowled over with surprise and happiness.

bolder, boulder
bolder (BOHL duhr) (adjective)
1. More daring and resistant than someone else: If a person wants to be noticed, perhaps he or she needs to be a little bolder.
2. Showing or needing confidence or lack of fear: Few politicians have been bolder than those who want to cut taxes.
boulder (BOHL duhr) (noun)
A very large stone or rounded piece of rock: The road was blocked by a boulder.

When Roberto was removing rocks from the hill with his earth moving machine, he was thinking that he could see a boulder that was bolder than the others because it resisted the pressures which he was using to bring it down.

boll, bowl, bowl
boll (BOHL) (noun)
A seed pod of cotton or flax: Sometimes the multiple existence of the cotton boll looks like a bunch of snowballs in the fields.
bowl (BOHL) (noun)
1. A building or stadium shaped like a round dish: Erick and Darryl went to the Rose Bowl to see this year's game.
2. A round vessel that is open at the top and which is used for holding fruit or liquids or for serving food: Lucinda put the cereal in the bowl for breakfast.

"At a bowling alley, two men were looking at a fish about to bowl a ball down the lane and the fish looked at them and said, 'What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a fish bowl before?' "

—As seen in the comic strip,
"Frank & Ernest" by Bob Thaves, December 23, 2010.
bowl (BOHL) (verb)
To move, to roll smoothly and quickly, or to make something do this: Trina could see Jim bowl down the highway with his new car.

Milton went to the Cotton Bowl to watch a football game. While he was there, he went to the gift shop and bought a bowl that he wanted to use to display the cotton boll that he picked up along the road and which he intends to put on the shelf next to the fish bowl.

bolt, bolt
bolt (BOHLT) (noun)
1. A bar made of wood or metal that slides into a socket and is used to fasten doors and gates: The farmer made sure that the bolt was secured so his animals could not get out of their enclosure.
2. A metal bar or rod in the mechanism of a lock that is thrown or withdrawn by turning the key: Before going to bed each night, one of the family members uses a key to move the bolt in the lock.
3. A flash of lightning; a thunderbolt: During the storm, there was bolt of lightning every so often followed by the sound of thunder.
4. A sudden movement toward or away: When the robber saw the police coming, he made a bolt for his car.
bolt (BOHLT) (verb)
1. To run away suddenly and quickly: You could see the horse bolt when it heard the gun go off.
2. To eat something quickly or suddenly: Jim's mother told him not to bolt his food and to take his time and to eat properly.

After Jim bolted down his breakfast, he rushed out the door because he was late for work.

During the evening meal, there was a bolt of lightening which caused Sara to bolt down her food and then bolt to the door and turn the bolt of the lock because she felt safer knowing that the door was locked.

boors, bourse
boors (BOORZ) (noun)
Plural of boor, an insensitive or rude person: "I'm exhausted", Jill exclaimed, "I have never met so many boors in one place in my life."
bourse (BOORS) (noun)
A specialized sale; such as, numismatic or philatelic, typically at a convention where the items would be displayed on a table: The collector set up his booth at the bourse which is held two times per year.

At the end of the bourse, Harvey and Jared met for drinks. Jared told his friend, Harvey that earlier he had to talk for hours with two boors who monopolized all his time.

boos, booze
boos (BOOZ) (noun)
Sounds uttered to show contempt, scorn, or disapproval: There were loud boos from the crowd at the end of the speech.

Tyrone's announcement was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers.

booze (BOOZ) (noun)
A casual expression describing an alcoholic beverage: After the big football game, the boys went to the bar for a quick booze before going home.

Franklin bought some chips and booze for the party.

There were a lot of boos when the bar ran out of booze.

boot, boots; boot, boots
boot (s) (noun), boots (pl) (BOOT, BOOTS)
1. A covering for the entire foot and the lower part of the leg usually made of leather or rubber: Herman had to put a boot on each foot before he went out into the winter snow and his wife wore her boots, too.
2. A forceful kick with the foot: Maurice gave the football a boot through the goal posts and won the game.
3. Getting fired, or dismissed, from a job: Maria got the boot because she told the press about her company's secrets.
boot (s) (verb), boots (pl) (BOOT, BOOTS)
1. To kick something with great force: The teenager was determined to boot the ball from one end the field to the other end.
2. Forcing someone to leave a place or situation: The voters decided to boot the mayor out of office.
3. To start a computer: The new computer boots up much faster than Franklin's old one did.

Cory was told that he didn't need all of those applications to open every time he wanted to boot his computer.

Jamie had just started to boot up his computer when he was told that he was getting the boot from his job; so, he decided to put on his boots and leave. He was so upset that when he walked away from his desk, he gave it a boot.

booty; booty, bootee, bootie
booty (BOO tee) (noun)
1. Money or goods stolen or taken in war: Historically, conquering forces have been known to take a great deal of booty from their foes.
2. A valuable gain or prize: Trina's booty from the auction included some rare antiques.
booty, bootee, bootie (BOO tee, boo TEE) (nouns)
1. A small child's little shoe or foot covering: Erik's mother asked her little son where he hid his other booty.
2. A baby's knitted woolen slipper or heavy sock: The mother put a new bootee on each of the baby's feet.
3. A lightweight, short foot covering for women: Bill's mother showed him a bootie in the closet that she used to wear before he was born.

Among the booty that James found in the large box, which he picked up at the auction, he found a pair of bootie that had been knitted for a child. His mother said they looked just like the bootee which she had knitted for him when he was a baby.

Pointing to explanation of homonyms, homophones, and homographs, etc. Confusing Words: Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs; explained and demonstrated.

Pointing back to Confusing Words Quizzes, Part AConfusing Words: Units, Groups A to Z.

Pointing back to Confusing Words Quizzes, Part A Confusing Words: Vocabulary Quizzes Listed.