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.

bundle, bungle
bundle (BUN d'l) (noun)
A large number of things or items fastened together for ease of handling: Ana went to the store and bought a large bundle of fresh asparagus for the dinner party.

Kent had a large bundle of cash in his pocket when he went shopping.

bungle (BUNG guhl) (verb)
To mishandle or to act in a clumsy manner: The boss was very angry, stating that the new employee seemed to bungle the assignment.

The secret-service agent managed to bungle his mission which was to deliver a large bundle of secret documents to his superior officer.

burger, burgher
burger (BUR guhr) (noun)
A sandwich consisting of a bun, a cooked beef patty, and often other ingredients; such as cheese, onion slices, lettuce, or condiments: Audrey was so hungry that she went to the restaurant and ordered the special burger.
burgher (BUR guhr) (noun)
A citizen of a town or borough; or a member of the mercantile class of a medieval European city: At least one burgher expressed his desire for more security from criminal activities in his community.

On his way to the city hall, the burgher decided he was hungry and stopped to buy a burger and fries for lunch.

burglar, robber, thief
burglar (BUR gluhr) (noun)
An individual who steals or attempts to take property that does not belong to that person: The burglar was caught by the police when he attempted to leave the store with the fancy TV set for which he had not paid.
robber (ROB buhr) (noun)
An individual who takes property or valuables unlawfully and often with threat of violence: The robber wore a mask and waved his gun, shouting at the people in the bank to lie on the floor before he escaped.
thief (THEEF) (noun)
An individual who takes property or steals in a very secretive manner: The thief was careful to create a sense of friendship with the rich man before he took the valuable picture off the wall.

The robber decided to employ a thief to assist him in his crimes; and because they were so clever, the police thought they were dealing with only one burglar.

burley, burly
burley (BER lee) (noun)
A kind of Kentucky tobacco: At the tobacco market, the plantation owner received a large sum for his fine burley.
burly (BER lee) (adjective)
Big and strong: The wrestler appeared to be tall and burly as he stood by the TV announcer.

The burly steamboat captain was often seen smoking burley which he imported from Kentucky.

burst, burst, bust, bust
burst (BURST) (verb)
1. To break apart suddenly as if like an explosion: The dam burst from the pressure of the water which accumulated after the torrential rains.
2. To experience an unexpected and strong emotion: Jim's heart burst with love for the lovely girl whose name he did not know.
burst (BURST) (noun)
A short period of producing or doing something that begins suddenly: Samuel ran hard in a short burst of speed at the end of the race.
bust (BUST) (noun)
A sculpture depicting the upper portion of the body: The marble bust of Harriet Smith, founder of the Art Gallery, stood in the foyer of the gallery.
bust (BUST) (noun)
A slang term for a complete failure, a flop: Although critically acclaimed, the play has been a bust.

When the robber and the thief burst into the room through the window, they bumped the bust that belonged to the senator which fell to the floor with a thump and it bust into a hundred pieces.

When she saw this, the senator was so upset, she burst into tears and exclaimed, "I am a complete bust when it comes to collecting art."

The police thought they would soon be able to bust the house breakers crime syndicate.

bus, bus, buss, buss
bus (BUS) (noun)
1. A long motor vehicle for carrying passengers, which usually travels along a fixed route: The couple decided to go by bus to the next city so they could visit her parents.
2. A four-wheeled cart for carrying dishes in a restaurant: The first job Janet had after high school was to push the bus from table to table, clearing off the dirty dishes.
bus (BUS) (verb)
To travel in a long motor vehicle: They agreed to bus it to the big city to go to the movies.
buss (BUS) (noun)
A kiss: In their hurried separation, Perry gave Lynda a quick buss on the cheek to say goodbye.
buss (BUS) (verb)
To kiss, often in a casual and friendly manner: Kirk tried to buss Cathy's cheek before she turned and ran into the building.

When Jerry and Erica got off the bus, the two new friends said goodbye with a buss on each other’s cheeks; however, when they went into the cafe, they accidentally bumped into the bus which the waiter was using.

but, butt, butt
but (BUT) (conjunction)
On the other hand; yet; other than; except: There are usually 12 in a dozen but there are 13 in a baker’s dozen.
butt (BUT) (noun)
1. The larger or thicker end of anything: The butcher said the butt end of the ham would make a great meal when cooked properly.
2. The unused end of a cigar or cigarette: The street person picked up the butt of the cigar to try to smoke it.
3. A target for abuse or ridicule: The senator was often the butt of the chairman’s jokes.
butt (BUT) (verb)
To put end to end, to adjoin: The builders will make sure the two pieces of lumber butt exactly before completing the construction of the new wall.

Ross is often the butt of his sister's sense of humor, but he tends to be calm and smokes the butt of his cigar while thinking of a response.

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.