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

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

The day-to-day arena of spoken and written communication has always been a perilous place, fraught with endless possibilities for embarrassing blunders by even the most wary.

People may have a fine grasp of grammar, be proficient with spelling and syntax, and still occasionally find themselves in a quandary about which word to use. These days it seems that those of us who want to be precise are having a harder time than ever because there is so much which is working against us.

For one thing, there is the constant bombardment of sloppy English that we are subjected to from what we hear and read; and not just what's overheard on the bus or read on the walls of buildings.

We are also subjected to the many errors audible on TV or radio and published in every conceivable kind of printed matter; especially, in blogs and other presentations on some internet sites. These are strong influences, and if we hear and see a word misused often enough, it takes on a certain "correctness".

—Compiled from the "Introduction" of
Confusion Reigns by James S. Harrison;
St. Martin's Press; New York; 1987.

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

Once again, we want you to know that efforts have been made to help you grasp the meanings of the following and the other word groups 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.

draft, draught
draft (DRAFT) (noun)
1. An earlier type of something; such as, a document, that is made before it is completed in a final version: "Carmela just completed a rough draft of her newspaper article which needs a lot of editing and rewriting."
2. Cool air moving in a closed space; such as, in a room: "It would be a good idea if the windows were closed so we can stop the draft."
draught (DRAFT); chiefly a British variant of draft. (noun)
1. An act of drinking something or the amount swallowed at one time: "Devon drank a big draught of beer."
2. In Britain, draughts (DRAFTS) is the name for a game of checkers: "Curt took a draught of beer while he was playing a game of draughts in the pub."

At the local bar, Solomon called for a draught of ale and went to sit  in the draft by the window.

Later, his friends joined him and they played a game of draughts before he went home to write the first draft of his speech.

draw, draw
draw (DRAW) (verb)
1. To make a picture, image, etc. by making lines on a surface usually with a pencil, pen, marker, chalk, etc.; but normally not with paint: "The children were trying to draw an illustration of their feelings about the accident which they witnessed."
2. To choose something from a group without knowing which one is being chosen: "Imogene was about to draw the slip from the container indicating what the prize would be for the winner."
3. To cause someone to become involved or interested in something or someone: "A good writer knows how to draw readers in by making them interested in the contents of the material."
draw (DRAW) (noun)
1. Someone or something that causes people to go somewhere and to participate in certain activities: "The festival is always a big draw and that band is the main draw at the celebration."
2. The choice of someone for a prize: "There will be a draw for the winner of the money in a few minutes."

Petra won the draw at the party; the prize was for an artist to draw a portrait of her dog.

This was a popular prize which served to draw many people to buy more tickets in hopes of also winning a similar draw.

dress, dress
dress (DRES) (verb)
To put clothes on; to clothe oneself or another person: The children had to dress so they could get to school."
dress, (DRES) (noun)
An outer garment normally worn by women or girls: Marisa's daughter wore a beautiful dress to the school prom.

No one needs to see Elma dress in order to see her new dress.

drill, drill
drill (DRIL) (noun)
1. An implement with cutting edges or a pointed end for boring holes in hard materials, usually by a rotating abrasion or repeated blows; a bit: "The carpenter used an electric drill to make holes in the wood so he could insert bolts to hold the structure together."
2. An exercise done to practice military skills or procedures: "During basic training, the military recruits spent hours every day doing one drill after another one as they were led by their sergeants."
3. A physical or mental activity that is done repeatedly in order to learn something, to become more skillful, etc.: "Sheena's students do a vocabulary drill every Monday and Wednesday to prepare them for the tests that will be given on the following Fridays."
drill (DRIL) (verb)
1. To make a hole in something with a drill: "Blaine had to drill a hole in the back of the cabinet and place a bolt in it so it wouldn't fall apart."
2. To teach or to train people by repeating a lesson or exercise again and again: "The teachers wanted to drill the children on their multiplication tables at least three times a week."

"The commander gave orders to drill the troops by having them practice the specified military procedures and exercises until they got them right."

When Imogene's friend, Daphne, studied carpentry, she learned by rote drill the safety procedures and how to use a drill and other tools..

So, Daphne became very accomplished and was able to use the large industrial drill to drill holes of any size that might be required.

All of us can benefit when we drill or exercise our minds without using a drill to make holes in our heads.

droop, drupe
droop (DROOP) (verb)
To sink or to hang in a downward manner: "You can always tell when Desmond is sad because his shoulders will droop."
drupe (DROOP) (noun)
A fruit or nut which has a single seed in the center and is surrounded either by a soft flesh (cherry) or by a hard flesh (almond shell): "When the drupe are ripe on the trees, it is always a contest of whether Glenna will get to pick the cherries or if the birds will get them first."

When the cherries are ripe, the branches of the trees tend to droop with the weight of the drupe.

dual, duel
dual (DOO uhl, DYOO uhl) (adjective)
Twofold, double: "An umbrella has a dual purpose which is to protect a person from the rain or to shade him or her from the sun."
duel (DOO uhl, DYOO uhl) (noun)
A combat between two people; to fight: "In the 19th century, pistols were often used in a duel to settle arguments."

Burton said he just saw a double sword fight, or a dual duel, yesterday in the gymnasium.

ducked, duct
ducked (DUK't) (verb)
To lower the head or body quickly; especially, so as to avoid something; to dodge or to evade: "The people ducked so they wouldn't hit their heads on the lower than normal door frames."
duct (DUKT) (noun)
1. A tubular passage through which a substance; especially, a fluid, is conveyed: "The roofer installed a new rain duct along the edge of the roof."
2. A bodily passage, particularly one for secretion: "The duct from the kidney was blocked and it was very painful for the patient."

When Stan walked in the basement, he ducked his head so he wouldn't hit it on the heating duct coming from the furnace.

dudgeon, dungeon
dudgeon (DUJ uhn) (noun)
A sullen, angry, or indignant humor: "Willa walked out of the meeting with high dudgeon."
dungeon (DUN juhn) (noun)
A dark, often underground chamber or cell used to confine prisoners: "The king threw the rebels into the dungeon located below the castle."

After the prince was accidentally locked in the dungeon, he was in a state of high dudgeon and so he complained to the king about how poorly he had been treated.

dump, dump
dump (DUMP) (verb)
To empty (material) out of a container or vehicle: "Garland was able to dump the trash in a place specified by the city."
dump (DUMP) (noun)
A place where waste, or trash, is taken and left: "Bret always takes his trash to the town dump every Saturday."

Georgina goes to the city dump every weekend to dump her garbage and to deposit items for recycling.

dwarf, elf, gnome
dwarf (DWORF) (noun)
An individual of unusually small stature whose features are often out of proportion to the rest of the body: "The dwarf was a fine actor and appeared in many films."
elf (ELF) (noun)
A small, lively, often mischievous imaginary creature: "When Lorie was young, she hoped that an elf would come and polish her shoes at night."
gnome (NOHM) (noun)
In folklore, a diminutive and often misshapen individual traditionally thought to guard underground hidden treasures: "A gnome looks like a little man and is often shown wearing a pointed hat."

The dwarf lived in a charming house in the village where he had a remarkable garden and had a statue of a garden gnome near the fountain.

Because the fountain was often dry, the dwarf joked that an elf must be coming at night and emptying the water out of the fountain.

dyeing, dying
dyeing (DIGH ing) (verb)
The act of coloring with a special solution: "Bianca's sister was dyeing her hair with a new color."

"Some people think women have been dyeing their hair for centuries."

dying (DIGH ing) (verb)
1. About to pass on or the drawing to a close of one's life: "Logan's mother was dying from pneumonia."

"Many people are dying from curable diseases for lack of medical attention."

2. To wish or to long for something intensely: "Lucile is dying to wear her new shoes to the dance."

Pierre is dying to try dyeing his hair blond.

dynamic, dynamite
dynamic (digh NAM ik) (adjective)
1. Always active or changing: "Rodger feels that he is living in a dynamic city."
2. Having or showing a lot of energy: "Haley was a dynamic speaker and so she presented an exciting and dynamic performance."
3. Highlighted by physical force or energy: "Trent's dynamic behavior was reflected in his inability to sit quietly."
dynamite (DIGH nuh might") (noun)
1. An explosive device that is composed of nitro-glycerine mixed with porous material, developed by Alfred Nobel in 1866: "To build the railroad, the engineers used dynamite to blast a tunnel through the mountain."
2. Someone or something that may cause arguments or trouble: "The death penalty is still political dynamite."
3. Informal use, exciting and very impressive or pleasing: "Edmond's new musical album is dynamite."

"The rock band put on a performance that the audience described as being dynamite."

The dynamic duo toured the country singing about the dangers of using dynamite for road repairs.

Dynamite explodes with such dynamic energy that it can easily harm houses, sidewalks, etc.

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 Confusing Words: Vocabulary Quizzes Listed.