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.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
2. An open ended tubular packaging: "I slipped the newspaper into the plastic sleeve so it would not get wet."
3. Informal expression to suggest an individual is keeping a secret: "She was grinning so hard I was sure she had something up her sleeve."
The finishing touches on the sleeve of her new dress were very artistic. Someone had to spend a lot of time to sleave the threads to create such an elaborate fringe along the seam.
2. The act of tricking or deceiving someone, or others, in a clever way: "Investigative journalists exposed the company's financial sleight of hand to its investors."
2. Trivial, superficial, and not having much importance: "They had a slight acquaintance and so they could not say that they were friends."
The circus barker was physically very slight as well as very clever. Her sleight of hand when it came to card tricks was amazing.
2. To have killed something, typically in great numbers: "The knight slew the dragon and won the hand of the princess."
2. A state of deep despair or moral degradation: "She was in such a slough of discouragement that she decided to go to see her doctor for help."
2. In medicine, a layer or mass of dead tissue separated from surrounding living tissue, as with a wound, a sore, or an inflammation: "Using a scalpel, the doctor removed the slough that was inhibiting the healing of the wound on her foot."
"He will slough off his winter coat and stand in front of the fire so he can get warm."
The dragon got ready to slough its slough while wading through the slough. Sloughing time is a very slough time in a dragon’s life because it is very slow at slough time; in fact, a knight recently slew another dragon that lived just down the pike.
"You will have to excuse me, but I am a bit slow so early in the morning."2. Boring, lacking in activity and gaiety: "The pace of life in the country is slow when compared to living in the city."
"The river is deep and slow here, but watch out for the rapids downstream."
Don’t be slow when you are picking a sloe from the sloe tree.
2. A disk shaped like a coin that is used illegally instead of a legitimate coin in a machine: "Someone used a slug to get candy from the coin machine."
3. A small amount of liquor taken in one swallow: "The customer took one slug of whiskey after the other at the bar."
After taking a slug of whisky at the bar that belonged to another guy, that man reacted with a slug at the drinker's face which caused each drunk to slug the other until they were finally thrown out onto the street.
2. A boxer who hits an opponent hard over and over again: "The prize fighter was a slugger who won against most of his opponents."
A baseball slugger can hardly be a sluggard and expect to win a championship.
2. To strike sharply and with a loud noise; such as, a blow delivered with an open hand: "She smacked her hand on top of the table to emphasize a major point in her speech."
3. A hard slap or hit; including a loud noise that is made when something hits anything else in a forceful way: "We could hear the big book fall to the floor with a smack."
2. A woman's loose blouse-like garment, reaching below the waist and worn over slacks, etc.: "We see more and more girls each of whom is wearing a smock when they are in school or even walking around town."
If you are going to smack your lips and gobble when you are eating, you will need to wear a smock to keep your clothes from getting messy.
2. Characterized by sharp quick thought; mentally bright: "She made a smart investment, this time."
Looking for a sound investment to combat the biodiversity crisis? Spend your cash on an island. It turns out they are about nine times as valuable as an equally large piece of mainland.
"When we started out to build our network two summers ago, there was not a single smartphone (smart phone) with a Wi-Fi chip in it, not a single BlackBerry with a Wi-FI chip. Now, if you look at the industry data, about 90 percent of all hand-held devices going out in the next five years are going to have Wi-Fi chips."
He was smart to use his smart phone so he could get medical attention for the painful smart on his bleeding hand.
A smart phone is described as a wireless phone with text and internet capabilities that can handle wireless phone calls, store addresses, take voice mail, access information on the internet, send and receive e-mail, and fax transmissions.
"The mechanic will smear the gears with grease so they will function smoothly."2. To make malicious or secretive comments about someone: "The unscrupulous banker tried to smear his competitor by writing gossip in the newspaper."
2. In medicine, A very small sample of something; such as, skin or blood which someone examines with a microscope: "The laboratory checked the patient's blood smear and discovered that malaria was a factor causing his illness."
3. A layer of a substance that is spread thinly on a surface: "She asked for a smear of jam on her toast."
2. To bring disgrace upon someone: "His negative comments seemed to smirch the reputation of his former teacher."
The nasty minded youth seemed to smirk when making a comment that would smirch the reputation of his friend. It was almost as if young guy was trying to start some kind of smear campaign against his buddy.
2. An individual or thing what emanates an odor: "That old cheese is quite a smeller."
The smeller who worked at the perfume factory always carried an old fashioned speller so she could write down new words, check the spelling of some words, and increase her vocabulary.
2. An archaic or out-of-date usage: very clean, tidy, and very correct: "Rick's desk in the office was always smug as were the documents which he wrote."
2. Warm, comfortable, and safe: "The Christmas poem described the children as being snug in their beds."
"The cottage was a snug place to be on a rainy afternoon."
She was feeling very smug because she was able to get the smudge out of her new snug sweatshirt.
2. To have risen quickly upward to a great height: "The ball soared out of the stadium."
"There is a saying that people need to beat their swords into plowshares; or, to stop fighting wars and begin to live peacefully."
During the hand-to-hand fight, the man's rapier flew into the air; that is, the opponent's sword soared out of control.
He who lives by the sword dies by the sword or, in other words, those who view war as a solution to a national or international problem will ultimately be destroyed by their own soaring violence.
2. To create a solid friendship or union: "We went out to lunch together to solder our renewed friendship."
The professional sodder who took care of their yard was also able to solder the broken hinge on the gate.
"The soil around here is very sandy."
If anyone works in garden soil, then that person should expect to soil the clothing that is being worn.
2. To have given up something in a foolish or dishonest manner: "She sold her good name when she became involved with the fraud scheme."
3. To have influenced or persuaded others to take a certain course of action: "The teacher sold the children on the idea of creating posters advertising their upcoming concert."
She sold the pair of shoes that she recently had soled at the shoe repair.