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

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

All of the main entries in these "Confusing Words" groups are explained, or defined, followed by pronunciations, and sentences which are meant to enhance your understanding of their meanings.

The definitions provided are based on dictionary presentations and are meant to help you differentiate between the various meanings of each word group.

Many current dictionaries, popular writing books, specialized topical resources, and style guides were consulted for these groups so you can develop better word skills and communication tools.

In your daily writing, be aware of what the "right words are for the correct meanings" so you can improve your writing accuracy in a positive way.

A great deal of effort has been devoted to help you grasp the meanings of over 1,700 word groups (or more than 5,100 entry words in the sections) which may be confusing to you so you can utilize them with greater accuracy in your communications.

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

emerge, emerse, immerge
emerge (i MURJ) (verb)
To come forth, to rise up, to come into sight and is usually followed by "from": Mary was seen with her hair dripping as she was about to emerge from the swimming pool.

The sun is about to emerge from behind those fleecy clouds.

emerse (ee MURS) (verb)
To arise, or to cause to surface, from a liquid: A water lily standing out of the water with its surrounding leaves is said to emerse from the water.
immerge (i MURJ) (verb)
To plunge or to sink into and to disappear; while in its former meaning, it is synonymous with "immerse": The chemist will immerge the metal rod into the acid.

The faint moon will immerge into the shadow of the sun.

The mermaid decided to immerge herself into the deep water; then with a flick of her tail, she seemed to emerge from the water like a flash of silver.

emeritus, merit, meritorious
emeritus (i MER i tuhs) (adjective)
Relating to a person who is retired from a professional position; descriptive of someone who holds an equivalent rank or title to that held prior to retirement: The emeritus professor was invited back to the school to give a guest lecture.
merit (MER it) (noun)
Behavior or conduct deserving of positive recognition and honor: The professor's service on the committee was of the highest merit.
meritorious (mer" i TOR ee uhs, mer i TOHR ee uhs) (adjective)
Concerning behavior or actions that deserve esteem and honor: Jarvis received a medal in recognition of his meritorious contributions to helping handicapped people.

The emeritus professor really did merit the award she received for her meritorious contribution to the fund raising efforts of the university.

emersed, immersed
emersed (i MURST) (adjective)
A reference to that which is above the surface of a liquid: The emersed lilies were easily visible in the pond.
immersed (i MURST) (verb)
To have dipped something into a liquid or to have been covered by a liquid: The dirty dishes were immersed in a sink full of hot soapy water.

She observed that the lilies were emersed from the center of the round pond. She was thinking that if she were to pick them, the lilies would need to be immersed into cool water so they would stay fresh.

emigrant, immigrant
emigrant (EM i gruhnt) (noun)
An individual or object that has left one country or location to settle in another location: Jodie wants to be an emigrant from her native country so she can become an immigrant in a new country.
immigrant (IM i gruhnt) (noun)
An individual or object which has come from a different location and settled in a new area: Reed's grandfather was an immigrant in Canada who came as an emigrant from France.

The story of the settlement of the nation is a combined narrative of each immigrant who came from his or her homeland to settle and to make it possible for an additional emigrant to move away from his or her country.

emigrate, immigrate
emigrate (EM uh grayt") (verb)
To leave a place; to leave one country for another: The entire family made the decision to depart from their homeland and emigrate to Canada.
immigrate (IM uh grayt") (verb)
To enter a new environment, country, or region; especially, with the purpose of settling there: During the hard economic times, many people decide to immigrate to cities, looking for work.

In Loyd's early years, the decision to emigrate to a new country was very difficult; however, his decision to immigrate from the farm to the city was not difficult for him at all.

emit, omit
emit (i MIT) (verb)
To give voice to, to send out or to give off: Vern was so unhappy, he simply had to emit a groan of dissatisfaction and despair.

The satellite will emit a bleep every time it goes around the earth.

omit (oh MIT) (verb)
To forget or fail to make use of or to include someone or something: Norris decided to omit the last sentence in his quest for brevity.

Please don't leave out or omit any details.

Elma, when you are writing your short story, don't omit the graphic description of the protagonist when he was about to emit a sound of despair because he missed his train.

emollient, emolument
emollient (i MUL yuhnt) (noun)
That which soothes or softens: The pharmacist created an emollient for dry skin.
emolument (i MUL yuh muhnt) (noun)
The compensation or rewards associated with employment: An important question to ask during a job interview is about the emolument for the position, e.g. wages and other benefits.

There are those who say that the emolument of the job is the real emollient for all of the long hours they have to spend working.

empathy, sympathy
empathy (EM puh thee) (noun)
The awareness or understanding of the thoughts and experiences of another without direct communication: Cathleen felt a great empathy for the woman whose difficulties were described in the newspaper article.
sympathy (SIM puh thee) (noun)
The ability or capacity of an individual to relate to or to share the experiences and feelings of another person: When Fred lost his job, his partner showed great sympathy and support.

The empathy Lea felt for her friend’s situation was sincere and she also had great sympathy for her friend because they both had experienced the same disappointments.

empire, umpire
empire (EM pighr") (noun)
A large number of physical territories and people that are under the political control of an individual country: The explorers who sailed around the world for the first time claimed land and people as part of their empire.
umpire (UM pighr") (noun)
1. An individual who is appointed to help make decisions in a situation of controversy between parties: During the negotiations to end the conflict, the mayor was appointed as umpire to help sort out the issues.
2. In sports, an individual who supervises and enforces the rules of a game: The umpire for the baseball tournament used to be a famous player.

The membership of the cricket team came from all corners of the country’s empire. From among them, a fair and just umpire was selected to be sure the game was played fairly.

enable, unable
enable (e NAY buhl) (verb)
To make easy, possible, or practical: This device will enable the students, or furnish them with the means, to calculate the right answer very quickly.
unable (un AY buhl) (adjective)
Incapable or helpless: Despite her best intentions, she was unable to answer the questions in time.

The teacher said that she was unable to give the student a higher mark on his test. She didn't want to enable him to participate in the team without having earned the appropriate test scores.

end, endings; inning, innings
end (END) (noun)
1. A point that marks the limit of something or the point at which something no longer continues to happen or to exist: Jolene's report is due at least by the end of the month.
2. The termination of a condition, activity, or course of action: The death of the writer was the end of an era of such outstanding historical presentations.
endings (EN dingz) (noun)
1. The final parts of something: The book had more endings than usual.
2. Letters which are added to the final parts of words; such as, suffixes: Many endings of English words include "-ed", "-s", "-less", "-ful", and "-ing".
inning (IN ing) (noun)
One of the normally nine parts of a baseball game in which each team bats until three outs are made: The batter hit two home runs in the second inning.
innings (IN ingz) (noun)
1. Chances or opportunities for actions and turns to accomplish goals or objectives: Now the winning politicians will have their innings to prove that they can do what they claimed.
2. Multiple parts of a baseball game: The pitcher was doing very well for five innings before he was replaced.

The end of the fourth inning of the game was called because of the rain; however, past experiences have indicated that the endings of the games for season can never be told until all of the innings have been played.

endemic, epidemic, pandemic
endemic (en DEM ik) (adjective)
Native to a particular locale or region: The bison are endemic to the plains of North America because they were born and lived there their whole lifetime.
epidemic (ep" i DEM ik) (noun)
Something which is very prevalent in a specific area: The doctors were afraid of an epidemic of flu in the schools during the winter.
pandemic (pan DEM ik) (adjective)
Referring to something which occurs over a wide geographical, or international, area and effects large numbers of individuals: The pandemic outbreak of flu made it necessary for the medical profession to work hard to contain it.

The pandemic enthusiasm for soccer spread like an epidemic among the fans; especially, those for whom soccer is endemic to their culture.

enervate, innervate
enervate (EN uhr vayt") (verb)
To decrease or to reduce vitality or strength: Elma's illness had a strong tendency to enervate her former energetic behavior.
innervate (IN uhr vayt", i NUR vayt") (verb)
1. To stimulate a nerve, a bodily organ that contracts, or body part to action: The doctor invented a special machine to innervate the tired muscles of the runners’ legs.
2. To supply an organ or a body part with nerves: The finger tips are equipped with sensitive nerves that can innervate people to make them aware of objects around them.

There was no need to innervate the crowd in the stadium because the people were enthusiastic enough.

If anything, it would be more important to enervate their enthusiasm before they head out onto the streets.

entomology, etymology
entomology (en" tuh MAHL uh jee) (noun)
The study of insects: When asked what her sister majored in at the university, Carmela replied that she studied bugs; when what she really meant to say was that her sister studied entomology.
etymology (et" uh MAHL uh jee) (noun)
The act of tracing the origins, derivations, and developments of words: Glenna became famous through her work in the etymology and use of rare words.

Etymology makes it possible to better understand the origins and meanings of words.

It is important to have an understanding of etymology in order to understand the naming of insects during one's study of entomology.

An etymologist is someone who knows the difference between etymology and entomology.

—Modified from Esar's Comic Dictionary by Evan Esar;
Doubleday & Company, Inc.; Garden City, New York; 1983; page 206.
entry, entrée
entry (EN tree) (noun)
1. A gate or opening allowing one to enter a space: The entry to the house was through the double doors.
2. A record or accounting of a fact or event: The brief description, or entry, in the journal was helpful for the students of history.
entrée (AHN tray, ahn TRAY) (noun)
The main or featured dish at a meal: The entrée for the evening dinner was a finely prepared salmon.

The elaborate entry to the restaurant was pictured on the cover of the menu at the expensive restaurant.

The menu was extensive and Gus read each entry before he could decide which entrée he wanted to order.

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.