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

(lists of "T" 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.

toe, tow
toe (TOH) (noun)
A digit on each foot: "Oh no, I hurt my toe when I stumbled on that rock just now!"
tow (TOH) (TOH) (verb)
To pull a vehicle behind another vehicle with a rope, a chain, or a special mechanism for that purpose: "Because of the accident, the auto repairman will tow our car to his garage."

Be careful that you don’t hurt your toe when you try to tow the grocery cart up the steep hill.

told, tolled
told (TOHLD) (TOH) (verb)
1. To have explained something in detail: "I told you yesterday why we were not going shopping tonight."
2. Having described or explained something in words, verbal or written: "She told me about her dreams to be an actress when we were both children."

"The letter from the bank told us about the financial situation that we would have to face."

3. To have ordered, directed, or admonished: "If I told you once, I have told you a thousand times, don't go there."
tolled (TOHLD) (TOH) (verb)
1. To have bells ringing for a special occasion: "The bells tolled all night after their beloved king died."
2. Something that was encouraged or lured to a specific location: "The farmer tolled the cattle to the barn by blowing on a special whistle."
3. Having decoyed game; especially, ducks: "The hunter tolled the ducks to land near the decoys of floating imitations of ducks."

We were told that the bells at the church tolled every evening at 6 P.M. which helped to remind the farmers it was time they tolled their cattle in from the fields.

tole, toll, toll
tole (TOHL) (noun)
A tray or sheet of metal that is painted and decorated in an elaborate fashion, frequently for domestic use: "Her parents had a stunning tole tray that was black with vivid flowers painted on it."
toll (TOHL) (verb)
1. To call, to give an announcement, or to signal typically with the use of bells: "We could hear the bell in the tower toll the hour and the half hour."

"The bells will toil the announcement of the marriage of the popular couple."

2. To lure or to attract something to a desired location: "We scattered crumbs on the water to toll the fish closer to shore."
toll (TOHL) (noun)
1. A fee charged for the use of something: "We paid the toll before crossing the bridge over the river."

"There is a two-coin toll for the use of the public telephone."

"There's a bridge ahead of us, so be prepared to pay the toll when we get there."

2. A grievous or sad loss: "The toll in human lives was devastating after the severe hurricane swept across the island."

The tole tray, which his parents possessed, commemorated important historical sites in their home town. Depicted on the tray were a toll bridge and a tall bell tower and his parents told him that the bell in the tower would toll for hours whenever there was a toll, or loss of lives, in the nearby mines.

ton, tun
ton (TUHN) (noun)
1. Any of a number of units of weight that are typically very heavy: "The box that was being shipped across the ocean weighed at least a ton."
2. A large, heavy quantity of something: "The box was so heavy that I joked that it must weigh a ton."

"Her son complained that he had a ton of homework to do for school."

tun (TUHN) (noun)
1. A large cask for liquids; especially, wine: "I visited the cooper’s shop where they were making a large oak tun for the local wine industry."
2. A measure of liquid capacity; especially, one equivalent to approximately 252 gallons (954 liters): "The vintner decided to buy a tun of the red wine based on the reports that she had studied."

The tun that was filled with rare wine felt as if it weighed a ton. She did a ton of research on the best wines to buy and the tun from the local winery was highly recommended.

tone, tone, tone
tone (TOHN) (noun)
Quality of a sound: "I had to adjust the tone on my CD (compact disk) player."
tone (TOHN) (noun)
Quality of a color: "Do you see that beautiful tone of green in the picture?"
tone (TOHN) (noun)
Quality of body organs: "The doctor said she had good muscle tone because she went swimming every day and worked out at the fitness studio."

The doctor said that judging from the tone of my skin and the tone of my muscles, I was in great shape and should be able to create a perfect tone when I was singing.

tongue, tongue, tongue, tongue
tongue (TUNG) (noun)
1. The fleshy organ in the mouth which is sensitive to taste, and that is necessary for speech as well as for eating: "I used my tongue to lick my ice cream cone."

"The taste of the spice was still on her tongue."

2. A manner or quality of speech that clearly conveys the meaning of the speaker: "She had a sharp tongue and did not hesitate to use it to scold the silly boys on the street.”
tongue (TUNG) (noun)
The inside of each shoe, or boot, that is drawn up over the top of a person's foot: "She laced each boot over its tongue to be sure they were snug and tight."
tongue (TUNG) (noun)
The language of a particular people: "The translator is skilled in interpreting the tongue of the people indigenous to this island."
tongue (TUNG) (verb)
To produce separate notes when a person is blowing air through a musical instrument by using the tongue to briefly stop the flow of air: "He was learning how to tongue notes on the clarinet; that is, with notes that are produced by tonguing."

In order to speak the tongue of the remote island people, you must learn to move your tongue rapidly in and out of your mouth.

When you are hiking through the bush to get to the villages, be sure the tongue on each of your hiking boots is laced securely.

tonic, tunic
tonic (TAHN ik) (noun)
1. An agent; such as, a medication that restores or increases body tone: "Every spring her father would take a tonic of honey and vinegar to get over the winter blahs."
2. An invigorating, refreshing, or restorative agent or influence: "Her laughter is a tonic for my soul when I am upset or depressed."
tunic (TOO nik, TYOO nik) (noun)
1. A loose-fitting garment, sleeved or sleeveless, extending to the knees and worn by men and women; especially, in ancient Greece and Rome: "The Roman Emperor had a handsome gold belt fastened around the waist of his tunic."
2. A medieval surcoat, a loose outer coat, or gown worn in the Middle Ages by a knight over his armor: "The knight's tunic was emblazoned with his family crest."
3. A long, plain, close-fitting jacket, usually having a stiff high collar and worn as part of a uniform: "The officer's tunic was accented with gold and red braid."
4. A long, plain, sleeved or sleeveless blouse: "During the summer, she prefers to wear a sleeveless tunic because of the hot weather."
5. A short pleated and belted dress worn by women for some sports: "Her tennis tunic was very sharp looking and very chic."
6. In anatomy, a coat or layer enveloping an organ or part: "The tunic of the blood vessel was thin and the surgeon was getting ready to repair it."
7. In botany, a loose membranous outer covering of a bulb or corm, as of the onion, tulip, or crocus: "The cook removed the brown tunic of the onion before chopping it up so he could add it to the soup."

He spilled some tonic on his tunic. He looked so comical, the sight was a tonic for our low spirits.

Then he changed his tunic and reached for another tonic to sooth his hurt feelings.

tool, tulle
tool (TOOL) (noun)
1. A device, such as a saw, used to perform or facilitate manual or mechanical work: "Ivan was very excited because he bought a new tool for his tool chest so he could do more home repairs."
2. A machine; such as, a lathe, used to cut and shape machine parts or other objects: "Michael used the new tool to make a carved newel post for the stairway at home."
3. Something regarded as necessary to the carrying out of one's occupation or profession: "Dictionary compilers believe that every word they find and research is a tool of their trade."
4. Something used in the performance of an operation; an instrument: "The surgeon used a different tool for each phase of the operation."
5. In computer science, an application program, often one that creates, manipulates, modifies, or analyzes other programs: "A programming tool or a software development tool is a program or application that software developers use to create, to debug, to maintain, or otherwise to support various programs and applications."
tulle (TOOL) (noun)
A fine, often starched net of silk, rayon, or nylon, used especially for veils, evening dresses, tutus, or gowns: "The dress Shirley had for the dance included a full tulle skirt that was embroidered with blue flowers."

She used a sharp tool to trim the tulle in order to decorate the elegant dress she was making.

toot, toot, tout, tout
toot (TOOT) (noun)
1. A drinking spree: "After they finished their examinations, they all went on a toot for the rest of the evening."
2. A sharp note suggestive of the sound of a wind instrument: "The horn on the ferry boat sounds like the toot of a penny whistle."
toot (TOOT) (verb)
To make a sharp quick sound using an instrument or horn: "She started to toot on the toy trumpet that was given to her for the New Year's celebration."
tout (TOUT) (verb)
1. To praise or to publicize in an extravagant manner: "You would think I was a hero the way my friend tries to tout my financial skills."
2. To talk about something or someone as being very good, effective, skillful, etc.: "The company is trying to tout the drug as a miracle cure."
tout (TOUT) (noun)
Chiefly British: Someone who attempts to spy out racing information for the purposes of placing bets: "He was apprehended for being a tout for a crime syndicate."

After going on a toot with my friends at the local bar, I was embarrassed that they were all trying to tout my competence as a rugby player.

top, top, top
top (TAHP) (noun)
The highest point or part: "We climbed to the top of the mountain."
top (TAHP) (noun)
A spinning toy: "For her birthday, she was given a red and blue top and quickly learned how to spin it."
top (TAHP) (verb)
To surpass or to exceed: "By studying hard, she was able to top all her classmates and went to the top of her Latin class."

The prize for being at the top of her elementary class was a multi-colored top. She took it with her when the family went on vacation to the top end of the valley.

tort, torte
tort (TORT) (noun)
In law, damage, injury, or a wrongful act done willfully, negligently, or in circumstances involving strict liability; but not involving breach of contract, for which a civil suit can be brought: "The lawyer established his reputation by specializing in tort cases in which there were wrongful undertakings but no actual violation of contracts between the parties."
torte (TORT, TORT tuh) (noun)
A rich cake made with many eggs and little flour and usually containing chopped nuts: "My sister made a lovely torte which was presented to the guests at her birthday party."

To celebrate his reputation as a top tort lawyer, his cousin baked a torte and filled it with fresh fruit.

tortoise, turtle
tortoise (TOR tis) (noun)
1. Any of various terrestrial creatures; especially, one of the family Testudinidae, characteristically having thick club-like hind limbs and a high, rounded carapace (protective, shell-like covering): "We kept a desert tortoise for several years as a pet before taking it back to its natural habitat."
2. Anyone who moves slowly; a laggard: "There is an old fable, The Tortoise and the Hare, which describes the tortoise as slow moving but eventually getting where it wanted to go."
turtle (TUR t'l) (noun)
Any of various aquatic, or terrestrial reptiles, having horny toothless jaws and a bony or leathery shell into which the head, limbs, and a tail can retract: "We had a small green turtle in our aquarium as well as several different kinds of fresh water fish."

"When they went to Australia, they saw a sea turtle swimming next to the ship."

When we went to the zoo, we saw the tortoise enclosure which was designed to look like a desert.

Because I had a blister on my foot, I moved like a tortoise when we went to see the turtle enclosure that was a mixed environment of dry and marshy wet land.

tortuous, torturous
tortuous (TOR choo uhs) (adjective)
1. Having or marked by repeated turns or bends; winding or twisting: "We drove on a tortuous road through the mountains."
2. Not straightforward; circuitous; devious: "The story had a tortuous plot."

"The politician had so much tortuous reasoning that we simply could not believe anything she said."

3. Highly involved; complex: "There were so many tortuous legal procedures that it took more than a year before there was a final decision."
torturous (TOR chuhr uhs) (adjective )
1. Of, relating to, or causing torture: "It was a torturous decision to decide not to go skiing in the mountains this winter."
2. Twisted; strained: "The mountain roads were torturous and required careful attention in order to drive safely."

Although tortuous and torturous both come from the Latin word torquere, "to twist", their primary meanings are distinct.

Tortuous means "twisting" (a tortuous road) or by extension "complex" or "devious."

Torturous refers primarily to torture and the pain associated with it; however, torturous also can be used in the sense of "twisted" or "strained", and tortured is an even stronger synonym; such as, "tortured reasoning".

touch, touch
touch (TUCH) (verb)
To put the hand or finger on something so as to feel it: "I reached out my hand to touch the soft coat of the new colt."
touch (TUCH) (verb)
To affect the feelings of someone or other people; to cause others to feel an emotion; such as sympathy or gratitude: "The musician wants to touch her audience through her music."

"The story read by the teacher to her class seemed to touch the feelings of the children."

She reached out to touch the shoulder of her friend who was so sad. Her story will be sure to touch your heart as well.

touche, touchy
touche (too SHAY) (interjection)
Used to acknowledge a hit in fencing, a successful criticism, or an effective point in an argument: "At the end of the debate, my opponent called, TOUCHE! because he was convinced that he had put forth a solid, closing argument."
touchy (TUHCH ee) (adjective)
Easily offended; very sensitive; likely to cause people to become upset: "Borrowing from the bank is a touchy subject with some people; especially, during these days of financial instability."

"She is very touchy about the color of her hair whenever anyone says anything about it."

It becomes a very touchy subject when at the very end of the debate, your opponent suddenly shouts out TOUCHE because of a slight oversight on your part.

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