Confusing Words Clarified: Group M; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +
(lists of "M" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
2. Figuratively, a decisive moment or turning point in the lives of people, in professions, or in various periods in history, etc.: George planned a celebration to mark the most recent milestone in his career, being appointed CEO of the company.
2. Figuratively, a heavy burden, problem, or responsibility that does not go away and which makes it difficult or impossible to do or to achieve an objective or target: For some students, a college loan can quickly become a millstone making it very hard, or hopeless, for them to achieve their goals.
The scandal became a political millstone for the candidate who was running for office.
For Stanley, a millstone (serious problem) made it impossible for him to take advantage of the milestone that might have become available to him.
2. To have weight or an effect on something; to serve as a strong influence: Danny's youthful appearance can only militate against him getting into a high position in the company, at least for now.
2. To make something less harsh, severe, or violent; to moderate in force or intensity: There's no way to mitigate the effect of that unfavorable report.
These two often-confused words have different, mutually exclusive meanings and they function in different ways.
Militate does not take a noun object, but is followed by a preposition, often "against", plus a noun. It means "to have an influence, especially a negative one, on something": "Trade sanctions militate [not mitigate] against international cooperation."
Mitigate needs a noun object and means "to lessen the impact or degree of seriousness of something undesirable"; for example, "A six-month suspended sentence unfairly mitigates the seriousness of a vehicular homicide. There were mitigating circumstances beyond his control."
The sign in the window of the millinery shop proclaimed: "We have passed a millenary in terms of the number of hats sold."
2. To speak or to walk in a prim and fastidious manner: When the children were playing make-believe, they liked to mince their words to sound like grownups.
Because of the ice, Sally had to mince her way across the street to avoid falling.
2. Candies or confections that have a strong, distinctive, and refreshing flavor: Janine has chocolate mints for an after-dinner treat.
3. Locations where money or medals are coined: There are two mints located in our city; unfortunately they do not give away free samples.
The recipe said to mince the mints before adding them to the mixture. A woman was making a new delicacy to take on a picnic where she and her friends were going to listen to a speech about why the city needed two new mints to replace an older one; in addition, she took several refreshing mints to savor and to share with her friends.
Tom's mother said, "When your teacher tells you to do something, you are expected to mind."
Tamika's friend told Nell that she couldn't concentrate because her mind was always wandering and she couldn't keep it focused on anything.2. A collective or group which reflects public attitudes, etc.: The public mind is not supportive of building the new bridge.
The road was mined with artillery shells making it dangerous to use.
2. To have dug for valuable metals or ore: The men mined for gold in the abandoned mine in the mountain.
The difference between a railway conductor and a school teacher is that the conductor minds the train and the teacher trains the mind.
2. Relating to something which does not involve serious risk to one’s life: Laurel has a minor illness that requires her to stay in bed for just a few days.
The company employed a young coal digger who was the first minor miner to be hired in several years.
Shanna and Carolina were listening to the delightful minuet played by the string quartet.
2. The written record kept about the proceedings of meetings: The secretary printed the minutes from the morning's conference.
At the beginning of the symposium, the secretary read the minutes of the previous symposium.3. A short space or passage of time: Mr. Smith said, "Dale, Fern will be with you in a minute."
2. Relating to something which is very complete and precise: Jillian told Boris what happened at the meeting in minute details.
Shareen, will you dance the minute minuet with me? It requires minute care lest I tread on your toes.
2. A rocket which can be projected or fired towards a target; an unmanned weapon propelled by its own power: The missile was launched from the research station.
Silly Billy tore a page out of the missal and folded it into a missile which he was throwing around in his backyard.
Eugenia missed hitting the fly with the swatter.2. To have avoided something: Todd just missed being hit by the bicycle in the intersection.
3. To have noticed or to have felt the absence of someone or something: When Goldie reread her essay, she realized that she had missed several key points.
4. To have failed in participating in or attending something: Randy missed several lectures this year due to illness.
The cloud of very fine drops of water didn't get Carlos wet because the mist missed his area.
The wind was known to moan in the trees next to the house on windy nights.
2. When used in a violent connotation; such as, to have cut down or to have eliminated people by using a gun or similar equipment; to destroy a great number of people, as in battle: The victims were mown down by the gangsters who used a machine gun.
After Marla had mown (or mowed) her lawn, she collapsed onto the grass with a long moan because she was so hot and tired.
Snakes molt as they grow, shedding their old overlapping scales and regenerating new and larger ones.
Against the sunlight, Brian could see the dust mote settling onto the water of the moat. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched the ducks, that were swimming on the moat, molt their winter feathers.
2. A large number of individuals: The winning team was greeted and surrounded by a mob of excited fans.
2. To come together in a place when there are crowds of other people: The shoppers were expected to mob the stores when they started to reduce the prices; indeed, the stores were mobbed with women who were trying to get things at much lower costs.
The mob in the parking lot was highly excited by the mob of players swarming out of the stadium. They all agreed to mob at the local pub for fish and chips before heading home.
2. Changeable, versatile: Kevin's mobile facial features were an asset for his acting career.
3. Descriptive of something which is capable of being moved: Shelby had a mobile telephone in her purse which she often used.
The local artist was commissioned to create a large mobile to hang in the central hall of the bank. This mobile was made of lightweight materials which made it easily movable from the studio for installation.
As a teacher, Ryan sometimes used the latest mode of hip vocabulary when talking with his students.
In the mode of the day, the landscape artist mowed the lawn into artistic patterns which were very impressive.
2. An individual who is a descendant from several groups of Mongol, Persians, or Turkish people who invaded India: The prince was a Mogul and was proud of his ancestry which he investigated when he was visiting in South Asia.
3. A mound of hard compacted snow formed as an obstacle on a ski slope: When sledding down the hill, Tracie was careful to watch for the mogul near the bottom of the hill.
The mogul at the movie studio was an avid skier and knew how to handle the mogul on the slopes; in an interview, he said he would like to adopt a mongrel for a pet instead of a dog with a pedigree.