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".
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@example.com, as the address in your e-mail heading.
- questionable: what Cain did when he was curious about what his brother Abel was so upset about.
- outlying: where your prevaricating son is now.
- laplander: anyone who can't keep his, or her, balance in a crowded subway.
- gruesome: how they got their fresh vegetables.
- groan: a fully matured person.
- aspen: a donkey coral.
- abdication: giving up on stomach exercises.
- dictionary: the only place where "divorce" comes before "marriage".
- gossip: a news source from one person based on a series of contributers.
- jury: a panel of twelve untrained in law who are asked to render their legal decisions.
- glazing: sleeping with the eyes open, a popular pastime at conferences and early-morning meetings.
- sarchasm: The gulf between the person being sarcastic and the person who doesn't understand what it means.
- keystroke: when only one side of the computer keyboard is working.
- legend (leg-end): the foot or where the foot is located.
- information (in formation): how military aircraft fly.
- diet: a form of wishful shrinking.
- dieting: corporal downsizing.
- dieting: life in the fast [fasting] lane.
I bought a new dictionary which was really a fictionary although it pretended to be scholarly; I laughed when I read the definition of daffynition and then wrote to my sister about dieting while she was driving her sports car "in the fast (fasting) lane".
I included a P.S. in my letter to explain the lexicomedy reference.
Elsa wrote regularly every day in her diary while she was traveling in Europe.
A diary is the confidant that doesn't talk [but it can be very revealing if it falls into another person's hands].
Darin wrote in his diary about the class trip to visit the dairy and what they learned about milk production.
2. A female parent which is a reference to a quadruped: The racing sheet explained that Daisy was the dam of the winning horse, Tulip.
2. To condemn as injurious, illegal, or immoral: The speaker continued to damn drugs, alcohol, and smoking as destructive to the well-being of society.
Dam is a word that means to "hold back", but it has the opposite meaning if the letter n is added.
When the dam broke and the water flooded the valley, the engineer who was riding the dam of a famous race horse, muttered, "Damn, I hope they don't damn the future reconstruction of a dam on this river"; and so, he started to plan to rebuild another dam.
Our friend said that she dammed her anger when she heard the preacher say we were damned because we went dancing on Sunday.
2. Somewhat or slightly wet: As Gwen's forehead was damp with perspiration, she urged her son to help her wipe up the mess of broken eggs on the kitchen floor with a damp cloth.
While the woman was cleaning the dank basement, her forehead became very damp with perspiration so she wiped it with a damp cloth.
After a while, the cloth became dank and she had to replace it with another dry cloth.
The mayor, who was a Dane by ancestry, announced that he would deign the offer to run for another term of office.
Lorena tried to dangle her feet in the water as she sat on the edge of the swimming pool.
Oh, what a tangle of confusion we create when we try to do too many things at once; like, trying to dangle our feet in the water of our swimming pool while playing with our dog whose leash was in a tangle because he was chasing the bone which Josh tried to dangle in front of him.
For some people, too often school days result in school daze.
2. Extremely accurate and effective: Bradford made a deadly aim with his bow and arrow.
3. Extreme or complete: A deadly silence followed Merle's question to the audience.
2. In a way that is close to death or dying: Orville became deathly ill.
Freda's face became deathly pale when she listened to the reports of the deadly effect of the avalanche on the mountain village.
2. With love and respect: Karin lost her family, her home; everything that she held dear.
3. Used when writing to address someone; such as, in a letter: Dear Sir, Dear Jane, etc.
When Santa Claus wanted to remind his flying reindeer to get ready to pull his sleigh and to help him deliver Christmas gifts, he sent a common message to his team starting with "Dear deer".
A beloved buck, or doe, is a dear deer.
There is a dearth of food in many parts of the world.
Elsa worked for the newspaper until her death at the age of 75.
When Percy worked for a newspaper, he often noticed a dearth of death notices on certain days of the week.
Whitney's unethical practices were sufficient reasons to disbar her as a lawyer.
The fact that Muriel was born in a foreign country served to debar her from applying for the government position; however, it did not disbar her from practicing medicine.
2. The characteristic of being artificial or lacking in quality: The court dandy demonstrated decadence in his dress and manner.
In the latest movie about the Revolution, the decadence of the aristocratic decadents was portrayed realistically.
The decease of the popular musician was caused by a very unusual disease.
Susan asked, "Is your grandfather alive or deceased?"
The doctor reported that the deceased had been diseased for several years before his death.