Confusing Words Clarified: Group S; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc. +
(lists of "S" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, as the address in your e-mail heading.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
2. Someone who does not have normal intelligence but who has a very unusual mental ability that other people do not have: Michael had poor reading skills; however, he was considered a savant because he could do unbelievable things with numbers and he had a fantastic memory of historical facts.
Savant is now the preferred term for "idiot savant" and is recommended as the word which should be used instead.
An idiot driver kept trying to pass Joel on the narrow road the other night while he was going at the speed limit while other cars were coming from the opposite direction.
Anita, a famed psychologist and a renowned savant in the field of child psychology, gave a lecture in which she emphasized the negative implications of the use of the term idiot savant and the even more frequent use of idiot.
2. Anyone who protects others from harm including physical, emotional, and spiritual: The preacher was well-known as a saver of souls.
3. Someone who stores, puts aside money, material items, etc.: Roberta's mother was a real saver of coupons to take to the store.
When Jacob looked at his bank book, he congratulated himself on being a saver so he could buy the car that he needed.
Melvin likes to dine by candlelight and to savor every bite of his well-prepared meal.
There were many who expected the governor to be the savior of his political party.2. When capitalized, Savior is used by Christians to refer to Jesus Christ: As Christians, they took time to pray to their Savior during the special service on Christmas.
Marian said that Alfred will be her savior if he will just savor this soup she is making and tell her what he thinks. Marian is also a saver of all the waters that she uses to cook her vegetables to make soup stock.
Vera saw Leon's sister at the party last night and she seemed to be having a good time.2. To have become aware of some concept or reality: Bradley's friend saw an opportunity to improve his career and so he took advantage of the situation.
3. To have understood something: Jeanne finally saw the point made by her teacher after she read the chapter in her textbook.
2. A common saying or proverb: Herbert's grandfather often recited the old saw about "an apple a day keeping the doctor away."
Sue said, there is a saw (saying) about "Red Sky at Night, Sailors' Delight" because when she sailed to Australia, she saw what that saw meant since she and her fellow travelers experienced spectacular sunsets over the Pacific Ocean and a safe and peaceful voyage.
2. To bring a liquid to a temperature that is not quite boiling: The recipe said to scald the milk before using it.
The old scold in the kitchen had to scold her son by reminding him to scald the pot before making a new pot of tea.
2. A portion of the skin that covered the top of the head with its attached hair, cut from a body especially as a battle trophy or as proof in claiming a bounty: Herman cut a piece from the scalp of the fox as proof of killing it in order to collect a bounty.
3. Hair and skin that is cut or torn from the head of an enemy as a sign of victory; now often used figuratively: Because of Marcia's disrespectful behavior, there is no doubt that her boss will be scalping (firing) her or wants her scalp [wants to fire her].
2. To punish in a severe manner: The boss decided to scalp the employee who leaked corporate secrets to the competition.
2. A small straight knife with a thin sharp blade used in surgery and dissection: Each student in the anatomy class was using a scalpel to dissect his or her animal corpse.
The scalpel that the surgeon uses to cut is simply a small, sharp knife, but it takes on a special meaning when summoned by the surgeon: Scalpel! Which is the signal that the operation is to begin.
As he started the brain operation, the surgeon used a fine scalpel to remove part of the scalp of the patient who was injured in a scuffle with a customer when he tried to scalp a ticket for a hockey match.
The Ponzi scam was an investment swindle in which some early investors were paid off with money put up by later people in order to encourage more and bigger risks.
2. To command or to tell someone, or an animal, to leave or to get out of a place: Vernon's mother told him to scram after she caught him eating cookies instead of carrot sticks.
When Terri, the small grocery store owner, realized that the two children were trying to scam her into giving them some free candy, she told them to scram.
2. To glance at something, often in a hasty manner: The speaker barely had time to scan the statistics before responding to the questions.
3. To use a sensing device to examine objects: Wilma's nephew used a metal detector to scan for lost metal objects on the beach.
2. Disgrace to a person's integrity or reputation because of an immoral or disgraceful behavior: The scandal surrounding the runaway couple was the gossip of the town for a long time.
Delores likes to scan the newspapers every day to see if there is a new scandal involving some politician and she is rarely disappointed.
Scat is said to have originated on the Hot Five song Heebie Jeebies when Louis Armstrong dropped his lyrics to sing in this new style.
While Stacey was listening to Louis Armstrong singing scat, she noticed that right after her cat left its scat in the litter box, it jumped up on the table where the scats were swimming in the aquarium and so she firmly told her cat to scat and to leave the fish alone.
2. The location where something happened: The police searched the scene for clues that would indicate what started the fire.
3. An exhibition of inappropriate behavior: Because Jeanne was so tired, the little girl caused a scene at the restaurant so we all had to go home before we could even order our meals.
2. To have looked at: Holly has seen the beautiful jewels in the Tower of London.
3. To have made sure something is done: The waiters have seen to the setting of the tables and used all the good china.
Ruben and Tara have never seen such a beautiful scene before.
Not long ago, Kodak had a special "seen on the scene" advertisement about its new Easy Share dual lens digital camera.
2. Perfume or other nice smelling liquid worn for the enhancement of one's personality: Thelma's aunt wore her favorite scent when she went to the opera.
2. To have dispatched: Sheila sent a telegram to her uncle about the train schedule.
3. To have grown as part of normal development: The flowers sent out new shoots in the spring.
4. To have discharged or poured out: The volcano sent up a cloud of smoke and ash.
When Harvey's wife received the special delivery package of perfume, it was good to know that they finally sent the scent she was expecting.
Why is the nose in the middle of the face? Because it is the scenter.
Tradition has it that the royal specter walks beside the prince when he is carrying the scepter into the royal chambers.
2. To decide to quit doing something: Ethel and Edgar had to scratch their plans for flying because of the bad weather.
3. To earn barely enough money to live on: Mr. Brown was barely able to scratch out a living for his family.
2. From a point at which nothing has been done before: The author started his new novel yesterday from scratch.
A vandal used a nail to scratch the expensive car, leaving a deep scratch on the fender and two of the doors. Brett, the owner, had to scratch his plans to leave on his holidays so he could take the car to the paint shop for repairs.
2. To speak, to write, or to express something in a way that shows intense or uncontrolled emotion: The newspaper headlines did indeed scream about the increase in crime of the downtown area.
3. To produce a vivid impression or startling effect: The colors of Ellaine's pink sweater and orange blouse seemed to scream at each other.
4. To make a very loud, high sound: Marjorie and Raul heard the scream of the woman when her husband drove into the fire hydrant and hit a tree early in the morning."
In New York City, you never really get used to the scream of sirens.
It is no doubt just their imagination going wild, but some visitors claim that they can hear a scream from the picture of The Scream by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in the National Gallery of Oslo, Norway.
The shriek of an engine’s whistle causes pain in some people's ears.
The woman let out a shriek when she saw and felt the mouse running over her foot.2. A loud, shrill laugh: The little girl gave a shriek of delight when her daddy came home from work.
Each child greeted the other one with a shriek of joy.
The puppy started to squeal when Carrie stepped on its tail.2. Slang: to inform on someone; to betray, or to expose one's accomplices: Charlotte was getting ready to squeal to the police after seeing her neighbor break into another house and carry out a TV set.
When the famous rock band came to our city, the young girls gathered on the streets to scream and to squeal their enthusiasm. The noise was deafening, causing such an alarm that the police arrived with a shriek of a siren and then stopped with a sudden screech of the brakes.
2. Money, paper, or coins, which can be issued for use in emergency situations: Because the roads were flooded and the merchants could not get to the bank, they issued scrip for their customers to use instead of money.
3. A document that indicates that the person, to whom it belongs, is entitled to receive something: The patient presented the scrip to the drugstore and the prescription was renewed.
2. A style of printing that resembles handwriting: The font choices on Monica's computer include a very readable script.
3. A plan for what is going to be done or said in a particular situation: The family followed the script from the travel agent when planning their trip by train.
When questioned, the company officials followed the script and declined to comment.
The scrip which the doctor wrote was written in a fine script which was easily read by the pharmacist.
After Esther's scrip was filled, she placed it in her scrip (bag) before getting out her emergency scrip for the subway ride home. She needed to get home to review the script of the new play for which she was auditioning.
The university had to scrub the football game because of the bad weather.
On February 7, 2010, NASA scrubbed the launch of the space shuttle "Endeavor" to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida because the low clouds that moved in would obscure, or make it impossible to see, the "Endeavor" as it took off.
After the doctor had scrubbed up for the surgery, he discovered that the operation had been scrubbed; so, with the afternoon free, he went for a walk among the scrubs on the hillside.