Confusing Words Clarified: Group C; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc.
(lists of "C" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)
Three words that every student of language should understand are homonyms, synonyms, and antonyms.
Homonyms are words that sound alike, but have different meanings. Synonyms are words that are related in meaning but do not sound alike (begin and commence, for example).
Antonyms are direct opposites in meaning, as hot and cold; white and black.
With homonyms, the following set of to, too, and two are all pronounced exactly alike, but by no means are they interchangeable in writing. To be sure that you choose the correct spelling for any on these, you must know the meanings of all three so you will not make wrong choices with a feeling of vagueness and uncertainty.
Efforts have been made to help you grasp the meanings of these and other 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.
2. Low quality, not worth a lot of money: These curtains were made of cheap fabric.
3. Not willing to share or to spend money: Bill was too cheap to pay for the dinner.
Seth has a less expensive bird for sale which he calls a cheap cheep or at least a cheaper cheeper.
2. In banking, a written order to be submitted to the bank, directing it to pay the amount indicated on the order: Mabel always used a check to pay her bills.
2. To halt, slow down or stop, often abruptly: Dave put out his hands to check his fall against the wall.
When he accidentally fell, the woman's Czech companion managed to diminish his descent by putting out his hand; however, he had to go to a hospital for a check up after which he wrote a check to pay his medical bill.
2. British, informal: impertinent boldness, an attitude, or way of behaving that is rude and does not show proper respect: Bernard had the cheek to insult his hosts at the party.
Jane said, "Sabrina had the cheek to complain that our birthday present was cheap."
2. A senior official in an Islamic religious organization: Norris was happy to learn more about Islam from the sheik.
Chic refers to the woman who is always ready to take what's "becoming" to her.
The cheeky sheik tried to be very chic in his manners when he kissed his guest on the cheek.
2. To meditate on; to ponder or to think about: Daryl had to chew the problems of arranging transportation, hotel reservations, etc. before he could go on the trip.
There are those who are convinced that we should eschew the term "masticate" when we mean chew.
Fred and Sally are being forced to choose sides in the dispute.
Masticate is the word to eschew when you mean chew.
Virgil's cousin eschews green beans when she has to choose her vegetables because she doesn't like the texture when she chews them.
Fannie's nephew usually acted in a very childlike manner when he was visiting his grandmother; but when he threw a temper tantrum, it was more childish than usual.
When they were on a hiking vacation to Chile, Ross and Angie were often very chilly in the mountains.
It always felt good to stop for lunch and have a dish of chilli which was spiced with several different chilli peppers.
The church choir was rehearsing for next Sunday's service.2. The part of a church where singers assemble to sing during a service or ceremony: The choir was in the balcony and the members of the choir had to climb the steps carefully before each performance.
2. One twentieth of a ream of paper (500 sheets of paper): Austin counted out a quire of paper when he was in the store buying paper for his printer.
The music for the school choir was available in a printed quire which they could buy at a local store.
The police were waiting to collar the robber when he left the bank.
2. Any item worn around the neck, decorative as a necklace, or serviceable; such as, part of a harness for a horse: Melody wore a diamond collar around her neck, a gift from her mother.
The collar for the horse was studded with brass to create a decorative pattern.
2. To add distinction or vividness to a picture or writing: The child liked to color pictures for her mother.
When someone is displaying a choler temperament and the color of his face is turning red, we sometimes say that he is getting "hot under the collar".
Virgil thinks Ivan should take a program to learn to collar his temper.
For the TV program, the choral group, "The Singing Cowboys", was standing in the corral singing a chorale work which had been written for them.
Their insignia was a small piece of coral mounted on each of their silver belt buckles.
2. Emotional or prevailing responsiveness: Flora's comments struck a chord with her audience.
2. An electrical wire that is wrapped in a protective covering and used to connect a device to a power source: Candice and her family have to be careful that they don't get their feet entangled in the extension cord to their TV set and the lamp.
3. A part of the human body that is like a string or rope: The body has a specific cord for various parts of its anatomical structure; including, a nerve cord, a spinal cord, an umbilical cord (at birth), and vocal cords, to name just a few.
4. An amount of wood that has been cut for burning in a fireplace, a stove, etc.; and such a unit contains cut fuel wood, equal to a stack measuring 4 × 4 × 8 feet or 128 cubic feet (3.62 cubic meters): The truck delivered a cord of wood for our fireplace.
5. Clothing made of corduroy material: Virgil was wearing a black-cord jacket and dark blue cord pants.
During our conversation, Lynda's cousin, who was wearing a green cord jacket decorated with gold braid cord, helped Iris as they cored the apples for their lunch.
Molly remarked that the piano trio she played with was practicing a unique chord for their upcoming concert.
2. An informal term for "parachute": Damon's chute opened automatically as he dived from the aircraft.
Last Saturday, Rudy tried to shoot a gun for the first time and his friend wanted to shoot an arrow at the target.2. To kick, hit, or throw a basketball, hockey puck, etc., toward or into a goal: You can't really play hockey if you don't have a goal to shoot at.
3. To film or to photograph something: The producers want to shoot the next movie in the mountains of Colorado.
The contestants ran down the chute onto the soccer field where the star player tried to kick the ball into the goal while the goalie made every effort to shoot it down with his foot.
The sports commentator worked hard to shoot all of the action on camera for a later broadcast on TV.
2. To become lower in amount, value, etc.; or to decline or to decrease: Just watch, this company's stock will sink after it announces that its profits are less than expected.
3. To do something that is morally wrong: How could Neal sink to cheating like that?
2. A condition in which two or more people or things agree with or match one another and work together properly: Since Homer's views are in sync with his colleagues, they can proceed with the project.
An informal abbreviation of "synchronization", "synchronism", or "synchronize", etc.
The two players were in sync during the game; however, I am afraid that their luck will sink because an opponent had a cinque in his hand.
After the game, all the players went to the sink to wash up before going out to dinner together.
2. An arrangement of people or things that forms a circumference: The campers formed a circle around the campfire.
2. To move or to go around someone or something: The pilot had to circle above the airport before he could land.
The pioneers had to circle their wagons so they could defend themselves better if there were an attack.
When Blake was at camp, he would sit in a circle and look up at the sky and he could see the planes circle overhead while they waited for their turns to land at the local airport.
That reminded Blake of the time when he was a child watching skywriters flying overhead and drawing circles and other letters in the sky with the smoke from their planes.
As an architect you will need to be very circumspect in your dealings with the city board whose number is circumscribed by the city council.
Confusing Words: Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs; explained and demonstrated.
"Standard English and Nonstandard English" article with a poem of confusing English words.
Confusing Words: Units, Groups A to Z.