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."
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@example.com, as the address in your e-mail heading.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
When the king’s first child was born, he decided she would be borne to the church for the christening.
2. To use an idea, saying, etc. that was thought up by someone else: The speaker decided to borrow several phrases in his presentation that came from Winston Churchill.
When Raul went to the borough, the miner rode a burro to the bank to borrow some money because he wanted to buy a piece of land so he could dig a burrow where he could bury his valuable mining products.
2. The front part of a vessel: The bow of the ship was crushing through the winter ice.
The mast head on the bow of the ship was carved like a bough in which was seated a sea nymph.
The very rich and very foolish man decided to have his bullion melted into grand bowls in which to serve bouillon to his guests.
In the very class conscious society of the last century, there were clear distinctions between the bourgeois who lived in grand houses and the proletariat who lived in small and crowded huts.
2. A cork belt or jacket to keep a person from sinking: All ships and boats should carry one buoy or life jacket for each passenger and crew member.
Edgar has never heard that there is such a thing as a "female float" or girl buoy, but isn't it possible to say that there is such a thing as a "male float" called a boy buoy?
One thing is certain, a girl can either buoy up the self confidence of a boy or she can mutilate his ego.
When a sea gull swooped and lit on a buoy that bobbed in the bay, he said, "As here I sit, buoy meets gull. Hey, hey."
Brent's donkey brayed very loudly when he tried to braid its tail.
2. Sounds that are uttered loudly and harshly: Karl's voice was very disagreeable and reminded Josie of the brays of a donkey.
After working very hard trying to braze a sword for his friend, the blacksmith’s throat was so dry his voice sounded like the brays of the burro.
Tyler was very hungry so he went home and decided to braise a steak for his dinner.
2. An instrument for separating the fiber of flax, hemp, etc. by bruising or crushing it: The museum had a fine example of a brake for flax in the weaving house.
2. To crack without separating something into parts: The glass used for drinking will break with a crack, or cracks, if it is knocked over.
When Sam was driving in the winter, he had to suddenly brake the car; as a result, he hit the telephone pole and it caused the windshield to break. He was very relieved that he didn't break any of his bones.
Peter was afraid of braking the car too swiftly and accidentally breaking the windshield; because in his small town, that would be considered BREAKING news!
2. A breaking or the neglect of a law, a trust, etc.; an infraction or infringement: For the guard to leave now would be a breach of duty.
3. A breaking of friendly relations; a quarrel: A misunderstanding caused a breach between me and my friend.
The medieval warriors used a battering ram to breach the wall and to complete the invasion of the town.
2. The part of a firearm (gun) to the rear of the bore: Flame flew out of the breech of the gun because of the defective bullets he was using.
After the gun discharged, the hunter used the breech to make a breach in the wall of the cabin.
This was a breach of the trespassing law and resulted in a breach in the relationship between the hunter and the owner of the cabin.
2. Having caused to reproduce; especially, by controlled mating and selection: The farmer took his cow to his neighbor's bull where she was bred in hopes that a new calf would be born in the spring.
3. To train or to inspire good manners: The teacher worked hard and her students indicated that they had been properly bred by using good manners when they went to the concert.
The farmer worked with the genetics department of the university and bred a new strain of wheat which was excellent for making bread.
Lloyd tried to breathe deeply, inhaling a fresh breath of air. He hoped this exercise would increase the breadth of his chest.
Tracy's uncle described himself as a Breton whose ancestors long ago immigrated to Britain; after that, her relatives were considered to be from Briton.
2. To instigate or to incite: Greg brewed discontent and trouble with the audience.
2. The children of a family: The new neighbor has quite a brood of five children.
Edith's brood of six children often brewed trouble in the quiet neighborhood.