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

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

Contraction Reaction

I hope I do not live to see
The death of the apostrophe.
For readers all will suffer fits
In disentangling its from it’s,
And they may also rave and rant,
Unable to tell cant from can’t;
Not to mention how they feel
When they mix up well and we’ll.
—Majorie Loper

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

fortuitous, fortunate
fortuitous (fohr TOO i tuhs, fohr TYOO i tuhs) (adjective)
Relating to something which happens by chance: His fortuitous arrival at the scene saved our lives.
fortunate (FOHR chuh nit) (adjective)
Describing a person who receives and enjoys some unexpected good; lucky: Keith and Jaime were fortunate that they got home before the storm hit their neighborhood.

Joseph was fortunate that the unforeseen but fortuitous closing of the museum meant that he could go to the baseball game instead.

fortune, fortune
fortune (FOR chuhn) (noun)
A large amount of money: The Brooks family feel that their house is worth a fortune.

Marie made her fortune in real estate before the economic decline.

fortune (FOR chuhn) (noun)
1. Something that happens by chance or luck: The Charles family had the good fortune to escape injury when their car swerved into the ditch.
2. The future that someone or something will have: Lila said that she could tell Jim's fortune or how successful he would be in times to come.

At the local carnival, Christine had her fortune told and it was suggested that she could earn a fortune if she were to get her book published.

foul, fowl
foul (FOUL) (adjective)
1. Rotten, contaminated, or dirty: Sally asked, "Have you ever noticed how badly the foul eggs can smell when they have been around too long?"
2. Unfavorable; contrary to the rules of a competition or sport: Charles has a reputation for being a foul player.

The player committed a foul play when he tripped the other soccer player.

After Bill was suspended from the football game, he was asked why he committed a foul play so often, in fact at the beginning of just about every new game.

fowl (FOUL) (noun)
Birds collectively; a large edible bird; such as, a chicken, a turkey, a duck, etc.: The Bradley family roasted a fowl for their Thanksgiving meal.

No matter what you say, a stinking chicken is still a foul fowl.

fraise, frays, frays, phrase
fraise (FRAYZ) (noun)
A barrier or defense of pointed, inclined stakes or of barbed wire: Joe was not able to escape because of the fraise surrounding the prison.
frays (FRAYZ) (noun)
A scuffle or brawl: Many crime movies show frays between the police and the culprits.
frays (FRAYZ) (verb)
1. To alarm or to frighten: The old man frays the little girl without meaning to.
2. To wear away by rubbing; for example, the edges of fabric: Barbara frays the old pair of jeans at the bottom because she wears them much too long.
phrase (FRAYZ) (noun)
1. A sequence of words regarded as a meaningful unit: Mrs. Dickson said, "Charles, you may answer with a phrase, not necessarily with a complete sentence."

Please answer the following question with a complete sentence, not just a phrase or phrases.

2. A characteristic way or mode of expression; a brief expression that is commonly used: A phrase Francine's mother often used was to be completely "fagged out" after working so hard in the garden.

To borrow a phrase from Jerome's sister, she would tell her children that they were spending too much time "watching the boob tube" and not doing enough physical activities outside.

The phrase in the book described the fraise which had been erected around the yard. The fraise was built because there have been too many frays among the residents.

fraught, wrought
fraught (FRAWT) (adjective)
Descriptive of someone having a lot of emotional stress or worry, anxious: Elizabeth was fraught with fear not knowing where to find her lost daughter.
wrought (RAWT) (adjective)
Pertaining to an object which is carefully formed or worked into shape: The wrought wood forming the legs of the table were absolutely beautiful.

When the blacksmith was creating the elaborate gate of wrought iron, he was fraught with anxiety because he wasn't sure that the customer would be pleased with the results.

frees, freeze, frieze
frees (FREEZ) (verb)
To release, to let go: As Mike frees his leg from the hole in the ice of the lake, someone throws him a rope so he can crawl back to safety.
freeze (FREEZ) (verb)
1. To change into a solid by the loss of heat, or to cause a liquid to do this; especially, to change into ice: This pond can freeze in the winter if the temperature gets too low.
2. To preserve something, especially food, by subjecting it to and storing it at a temperature at an extremely low cold point: Anyone can freeze meat in a freezer and keep it frozen at a temperature of -18°C.
3. To prohibit the conversion of assets or to use them: The officials had to freeze the bank accounts in order to deprive the criminal of his ill gotten gains.
frieze (FREEZ) (noun)
A decorative horizontal band; for example, along the upper part of a wall in a room: The frieze Alice's mother chose for the living-room is really quite beautiful.

Aurora is thinking that she will freeze when she is outside working on the ornamental frieze on the wall surrounding the gazebo (small building with open sides) in the garden; however, the faster she can finish it, the sooner it frees up her time to go to the movies.

frenetic, phrenetic
frenetic (fruh NET ik) (adjective)
Concerning an activity which is filled with excitement, liveliness, or confusion; wild or frantic: The celebration after the wedding was very loud and frenetic.
phrenetic (fruh NET ik) (adjective)
Relating to a mental disorder when someone is excessively anxious or agitated: William was admitted into the hospital because there were indications that he had phrenetic behaviors.

It was very sad, when Jerome, who was suffering from a phrenetic condition, started to become frenetic when he was in the crowd that was enjoying the sights and sounds of the circus.

frequent, recurring
frequent (FREE kwuhnt) (adjective)
Describing something which happening often: The bus makes frequent stops on the way to the train station.
recurring (ri KUR ing) (adjective)
Concerning something happening, appearing, or occurring over and over again: Tracie suffers from the same recurring nightmare night after night.

Thomas has a recurring dream in which he sees himself driving across the country, but having to make many frequent stops to fill the gas tank of his car.

friar, fryer
friar (FRIGH uhr) (noun)
A member of a men's Roman Catholic group who is poor and studies or teaches about Christianity: James met the friar on his way to church.
fryer (FRIGH uhr) (noun)
1. A deep pan for cooking foods typically in oil: Greg asked his wife, "Please give me the fryer so I can get the eggs ready for breakfast."
2. A young chicken that is suitable for cooking in a deep pan: Madelin got the fryer at the local butcher's shop.

An chicken egg in a monastery was quoted as saying, "My destiny is to go out of the fryer and into the friar."

frog, frogs; toad, toads
frog, frogs (FRAWG, FRAHG; FRAWGZ) (noun)
Any of various small, tailless amphibians, having a smooth, moist, scaleless skin and powerful web-footed hind legs for leaping and swimming: Frogs and toads both hatch from eggs as tadpoles and live in the water until they grow their lower limbs.

A frog species (Psyllophrne didactyla), discovered in Cuba in 1996, is so tiny that it can sit comfortably on a human fingernail.

—This paragraph is based on information from
Scientific American Science Desk Reference; John Wiley & Sons, Inc. publisher;
1999; page 392.
toad, toads (TOHD, TOHDZ) (noun)
Members of numerous small, tailless amphibians that have a broader body and rough or warty, glandular skin, hatch in water, but later live mostly on land; usually in moist habitats: Art's biology teacher taught the class that toads and frogs have similar characteristics but that, at the same time, they are also quite different.

Toads feed on small invertebrates or animals that don't have a backbone; such as, worms and insects.

Toads have relatively short hind legs used for hopping, and they often have swellings containing glands that secrete an irritating fluid for defense purposes and they are terrestrial or semiterrestrial in habit.

Both frogs and toads have inconsistent common meanings.

Anura is the order of amphibians that contains the frogs and the toads. Their eggs (spawn) are covered with jelly, are laid in water, and hatch into aquatic larvae (tadpoles), which undergo a rapid and extensive metamorphosis in which the tail is absorbed and the gill slits are replaced by lungs. Most frogs (for example, Rana) live in damp places or are aquatic; some are arboreal. Toads (for example, Bufo) are better adapted to drier habitats.

—The content in this section is based on information from
The Facts on File Dictionary of Biology by Robert Hine;
Facts On File, Inc.; 2005; page 24.

When Jewel and Jerry visited the zoo, they went to the ponds and lakes section and observed several frogs; later they visited the wetlands section to count the toads.

fuddle, muddle
fuddle (FUD'l) (noun)
1. A prolonged drinking spell, especially in the phrase "on the fuddle": It seems as if Willard has been on the fuddle for about two days now.
2. A confused mixture, a jumble: Karin certainly has a fuddle of spools of different colored thread in that box.
muddle (MUD'l) (verb)
1. To cause confusion in someone's mind: Manfred complained that getting too much advice can easily muddle his mind.
2. To mix something in a confused way: So much information can easily muddle Karl's efforts to properly organize the materials he is trying to set up for the book.

Dennis thinks before he has a fuddle or two, he should try to muddle through the accumulation of paper work on his desk.

funk, punk, punk
funk (FUHNK) (noun)
1. A condition of cowardly fright or a panic or a state of severe depression: He is close to coming out of his funk after being so dejected and saddened following his divorce.

Her husband went into a deep funk after he lost his job.

2. A type of popular music combining elements of jazz, blues, and soul and characterized by syncopated rhythm and a heavy, repetitive bass line: There was a special TV program which presented an hour of musical funk.
punk (PUHNGK) (noun)
A young person; especially, a member of a rebellious counterculture group: As she was getting off the bus, the old lady had her purse stolen by a punk.
punk (PUHNGK) (adjective)
Of poor quality, worthless; weak in spirits or health: Lenora had a punk feeling because of her bad cold.

Celeste thought that the funk music that was being broadcast was too loud and too much punk for her taste. In fact, she was afraid that listening to it would trigger a funk like the one she experienced when a punk threatened to beat her up if she didn't give him some money.

funky, punky
funky (FUHNG kee) (adjective)
1. Characteristic of something having a moldy or musty smell; having a strong, offensive, unwashed odor: Patrice bought some funky cheese for her lunch.

When Babs went down into the cellar, she noticed a funky odor.

2. Stylish or appealing in an unusual way: The couple had dinner at a funky little Spanish restaurant last night.
punky, punkie, punkey (PUHNG kee) (adjective)
Referring to someone being weak in spirits or health; run down, tired, worn out, dragging, or maybe on the verge of getting sick, for example with the flu or a cold: Dad said he was feeling punky because he wasn't feeling very well even though he wasn't very sick; as least, not yet.

Greg asked, "Hey, how are you doing today, Willis?"

And Willis answered, "Not very well. I'm feeling punky today."

The doctor said that Bill was feeling  punky because he was living in a basement apartment which had a strong funky odor.

furry, fury
furry (FUR ee) (adjective)
Descriptive of an animal having or bearing fine and dense hair: Mary loves her soft and furry little kitten.
fury (FYOOR ee) (noun)
Violent anger; rage: There was a great deal of fury regarding the death of the baseball player by a drunken driver.

Mildred's furry cat, flew into a fury when she brought a new puppy home.

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