Confusing Words Clarified: Group S; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +
English can be very confusing; for example, a house burns up as it burns down, a form is being filled in as it is being filled out, and an alarm goes off by going on. How about when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible?
As you examine the groups of words in this unit, you will find many examples of confusions; sometimes, just one or two letters in a word can change its meaning completely. There are also times when two different words get confused because their meanings apply to things that are very similar.
Efforts have been made to help you grasp the meanings of various words 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.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
succor, succor, sucker
Something that provides relief: Reverend Jones has often said that prayer is often the succor for a troubled soul.
To go to the assistance of something or someone: Bill and his boys group will succor the homeless and take warm blankets to the shelter this evening.
1. A lollipop or sweet candy often on a stick: Each of the children was given a sucker
at the end of the birthday party.
2. A person who is easily fooled or deceived or who is irresistibly attracted to something: There is a saying that there is a sucker
born every minute.
Bernhard is a sucker for red sports cars and goes to the New Sports Car Shows whenever he can.
3. A fresh water fish, the mouth of which is soft and fleshy: At the aquarium, Joan and the students in her class watched the sucker
feed at the bottom of the tank.
4. New shoots or stems that grow from the roots or the lower part of a plant: The sucker
on the rosebush needs to be trimmed so the new blooms will flourish.
A candy sucker will succor a crying child for at least a few minutes.
Leather or fabric that is finished with a soft-to-the-touch surface and is often used for clothing: "Katheryn bought a new coat of suede with a fur collar to wear on cold winter days."
1. To have moved back and forth in a gentle manner: "The tops of the trees swayed in the breeze from the lake."
2. To have changed ones position or opinion on a matter, often because of the influence of someone: "The fiery speech by Steve, the store owner, really swayed my opinion about the matter of widening the street."
3. To have provided a guiding or controlling influence: "The aging actor, Gene, certainly swayed the new actors when they worked with him."
Carol's niece, Hana, actually swayed her opinion about fashion. Hana convinced Carol that wearing a suede coat to the afternoon tea party was not appropriate.
suite, sweet, sweat, sweat
A series of connected rooms used as a living unit: "The couple rented a suite of rooms for their holidays."
1. Having the taste of sugar or a substance containing or resembling sugar; such as, honey or saccharin: "Sugar and honey are well known as ingredients of sweet products; including, cakes, cookies, candy, etc."
2. Something that makes a person feel happy or pleased; very pleasant: "Don told his wife that he hoped that she would sleep well and have sweet dreams."
To excrete (moisture) through a porous surface, such as the skin: "When it is as hot as it is in the summer, most people tend to sweat a lot."
The clear liquid that forms on the skin when a person is hot or nervous: "The cross country runners were dripping with sweat during and after their race."
Robert tried not to sweat as he went to the convention of sweet specialties in the suite of exhibition rooms.
There are some people who are willing to pay big money when traveling just so they can have a sweet suite in a luxury hotel to avoid having to sweat in a cheaper place.
summary, summary, summery
(SUHM uh ree) (noun
1. Covering the main points of something: "The Executive Summary at the beginning of the report covered all the significant points."
2. An abstract or an abridgment: "At the end of her speech, President Rebecca Smith provided a summary of all her major points."
Completed without delay: "The judge provided a summary judgment immediately after the trial."
A characteristic of or a descriptive term for the warmest season of the year between spring and fall: "There was a lovely summery feeling in the air, suggesting picnics and swims in the lake."
It was on a warm summery day that Barry completed the written summary about the new but very LONG novel.
sundae, Sunday, Sunday, sundry
(SUHN dee, SUHN day) (noun
A dish of ice cream that may have a topping of fruit, sauce, or whipped cream: "Collette said she would like to have a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream for dessert."
(SUHN dee, SUHN day) (noun
The first day of the week in some countries and the seventh day of the week in other countries: "Sunday may be a day for rest and for reading and doing quiet chores for some people."
"Many go to church on Sunday to worship God, to listen to the music, and to hear thoughtful words from a minister."
A reference to a person's clothing or an article of clothing which is typically worn for special occasions like going to church or attending other significant events: "Sharon promised she would be wearing her Sunday clothes to the concert tonight."
Miscellaneous or an indeterminate number of something: "There were sundry items sitting on the shelf in the bathroom."
"Bruce said that this was such a good book that he would recommend it to all and sundry people."
"Helen Smith's purse contained keys, a wallet, and many other sundry items."
After church on Sunday, Cheryl and Chris went to the restaurant for lunch and to have a sundae for desert from a sundry of choices that were available there.
(soo" puhr in TEN duhns) (noun
The act or fact of providing supervision for something: "The superintendence of the building site was left to the land agent."
(soo" puhr in TEN duhns) (noun
Individuals who have been hired to provide the oversight or supervision for something: "The three superintendents who worked for their Boards of Education met together so they could coordinate the educational activities of their school districts."
There were three shifts of superintendents who were hired to provide the superintendence of the new Condominium.
(soo" puhr NACH uhr uhl) (adjective
1. That which is unusual and appears to depart from the laws of nature: "There was a supernatural glow in the sky that the astronomers could not explain."
2. An existence that is outside the visible or observable environment: "Ghosts are often thought to be supernatural beings because they lack the physical compositions of normal people."
1. Lacking ease, contrived: "Henrietta’s manners seemed awkward and unnatural despite being among her friends."
2. Inconsistent with the normal expectations of events or feelings: "It seemed unnatural to be picking apples this late in the season."
"Sam's degree of frustration seemed unnatural for the situation involving a flat tire."
When Stanley went to interview the famous psychic, he felt very unnatural because it was difficult for him to understand what others believe to be supernatural.
(suh PLIGH) (verb
To add, to provide, or to make available for use: "The hardware store will supply all the tools needed for your garden."
"The bank will supply a loan so Linda's uncle can buy a new tractor for the farm."
(suh PLIGH) (noun
1. An amount or a commodity that is needed: "The farmer bought a supply of firewood for the winter."
2. Goods that are offered for sale for a limited time: "The poster read: Buy Your New Toaster While the Supply Lasts!"
Patricia is using the book cart so she can supply more books to the total supply on the bookstore shelves.
suspect, suspect, suspicion
(suh SPEKT) (verb
1. To have doubts or to mistrust: "Jean told her mother, 'I suspect that the directions for the recipe were copied wrong because the pie was a disaster.' "
2. To imagine guilt based on slight evidence or proof: "The police suspect that the man with the raincoat and umbrella broke the window in the store."
(suh SPEKT) (noun
An individual who is thought to have committed a crime: "Zora was the prime suspect in the shop lifting episode during the holidays."
(suh SPISH uhn) (noun
1. Doubt, uncertainty; a state of unease in one's mind: "There was a shadow of suspicion in the mind of Officer Smith about what really happened during the break-in at the store."
2. Questioning that something is wrong without proof or evidence to that effect: "It is George's suspicion that the conclusion of the investigation is wrong because there appears to be an essential piece of information missing."
The police woman, Mary Smith, had a suspicion that the man who was running away from the scene of the crime was a primary suspect in other robberies; however, she had learned to suspect snap judgments and so she decided to investigate the situation further.
swath, swathe, swathe
(SWAHTH, SWAWTH) (noun
1. A broad strip or a width and length of cut grass, etc. after a machine or individual cuts it: "The tractor pulled a mowing machine that cut a swath across the field."
"The crows followed the swath of cut wheat in the field, feasting on grain that was on the ground."
2. The stroke or sweeping movement of a scythe: "Jim utilized the swath of his scythe which made cutting the tall grass and weeds in his back yard easier to accomplish than if he had used a hand sickle."
(SWAHTH, SWAWTH) (verb
To wrap closely in cloth: "The nurse planned to swathe the new baby after it had been bathed."
(SWAHTH, SWAWTH) (noun
A band of material or any medium used for wrapping: "The antique dealer used lengths of soft swathe to package the vases so they wouldn't break during shipping."
Jonathan got a bad blister on his hand yesterday when he was using the scythe to cut a swath through the grass in the field and so he will need to swathe it in a clean cloth before he continues with his work today.
(SWET uhr) (noun
An individual who perspires a lot: "Because Chad, the suspect in the crime was so nervous, he appeared to be an excessive sweater which raised the suspicions of the police."
(SWET uhr) (noun
A knitted or crocheted garment typically worn for warmth: "Amy knitted her aunt a lovely green sweater for her birthday."
If a person wears a sweater in hot weather, it is certain that it will turn him or her into a sweater of perspiration.
swell, swell, swell, swell
1. To become larger than normal: "The wasp sting made Shelley's whole arm swell up."
2. To make something larger or more full than normal: "The rain storm will certainly swell the river more than normal."
3. To increase in size or number: "Many populations in nations around the world tend to swell with more and more immigrants."
The upward and downward movement of the water in the sea: "A storm tends to cause a swell, or swells, along the coast."
An increase in loudness: "As the music began to swell, Henry had to put his hands over his ears because it was getting too loud for him to endure."
A slang substitute term for very good, excellent or wonderful: "We were so glad that we went to that swell party with our swell friends."
If you give Andrea too many compliments, her head will swell; then she will think that she is a swell person; of course, her ego will swell, too, if the praises continue to swell.
Confusing Words: Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs; explained and demonstrated.
Confusing Words: Units, Groups A to Z.
Confusing Words: Vocabulary Quizzes Listed.