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

(lists of "L" 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.

laboratory, lavatory
laboratory (LAB ruh tor" ee, LAB ruh tohr" ee) (noun)
A place or location specifically designed for and equipped for scientific investigation, research, or study: The new chemistry laboratory at the university was funded by a pharmaceutical company.
lavatory (LAV uh tor" ee, LAV uh TOHR ee) (noun)
A specifically designed room equipped with basins and toilets, often with multiple conveniences: A public lavatory should always be kept clean and well equipped for its users.

Joshua worked in a hot third floor laboratory all summer; while the lavatory was on the second floor.

lacks, lax
lacks (LAKS) (verb)
To require or want something or to experience a deficiency: What this laboratory lacks is a new microscope because there are only old ones which don't work properly.
lax (LAKS) (adjective)
1. Not firm, relaxed, or negligent: Both parents were lax with their supervision of the children and, as a result, the children often got into mischief.
2. Not strict enough: Shanna's university has been lax about enforcing the rules in the dormitories about making so much noise after a specified time.

What this communty lacks are some guidelines about lax behavior after the curfew.

ladder, later, latter
ladder (LAD uhr) (noun)
A specifically designed piece of equipment used for climbing up or down; built with two long side pieces connected at intervals with short pieces upon which the user can step: Scott will need to use a long ladder to climb up to the roof to check for leaks.
later (LAYT uhr) (adverb)
Descriptive of taking place after an expected or usual time: The arrival of the train was later than Helena expected.
latter (LAT uhr) (pronoun)
Characterized as being the second of two items or concepts or the last of a list of items: Given a choice of buying a roast or ground beef, the latter makes more sense because it is less expensive.

Later in the afternoon, Gerald had to decide between a ladder, which seemed like a good idea at the time, and a step stool; however, he decided that the latter was not high enough to get the job done.

lade, laid
lade (LAYD) (verb)
To place on or to load for shipment: The sailors lade the heavy cargo of bricks at the bottom of the freighter for ballast.
laid (LAYD) (verb)
1. Placed or deposited: The hen laid her eggs in a straw-lined nest.

The workers laid the train tracks in the mountains.

2. Having made bets or gambled: At the racetrack, Ryan laid his wager on the red horse with the white blaze on its forehead.
3. To have placed a duty or burden on an individual: After the explosion, the blame was laid on the contractors for their poor installation.
4. Prepared or made ready: Dennis laid a fire in the fireplace to warm up the room.
5. To present information for review and judgment: Keith laid the facts before the judge during the trial.

The stevedores lade the heavy crates onto the ship. They laid them on the deck and then they laid bets among themselves to see if the crates would slide around.

If they fell off the ship, the responsibility for the mishap would be laid on management which had not laid secure plans for the voyage.

lain, lane
lain (LAYN) (verb)
1. Having remained in a reclining or flat position: Abigail had lain in bed for two weeks before she recovered from the flu.

The books have lain on the table in the library for several days before they were put back on the shelves.

2. Having been in a defenseless or weakened position: The flooding was caused because the town had lain in the path of the river.
lane (LAYN) (noun)
1. A narrow or specified route or passage: The car drove down the narrow lane which was lined with hedges.

The shipping lane was marked on the map.

2. The narrow passage lined with hardwood typically used for bowling, a game involving the rolling of a ball towards objects with the purpose of knocking over as many as possible: Travis is anxious to bowl and therefore he will use the first lane that becomes available.

The popular walker's lane was near the river and it was lain open for flooding when the river overflowed the banks after a heavy rain.

lair, layer
lair (LAIR) (noun)
The hiding or resting place for some animals in the wild: The fox cubs played in front of their lair while their mother watched them.
layer (LAY uhr) (noun)
1. An individual or animal that places items carefully: Todd was a bricklayer by profession.

That red hen is a good layer.

2. A visible stratum or the overlapping of materials: At the point where the road was cut, Randy could see the layer of sandstone between the layers of soft clay.

The lair of the foxes was lined with several different materials; the last layer was soft and comfortable for the new fox cubs.

lam, lamb, lamb
lam (LAM) (noun)
A sudden or hurried departure often associated with being in conflict with the law: The radio announced that two convicts were on the lam from the local jail.
lamb (LAM) (noun)
1. A young sheep typically less than one year old: The baby lamb was bleating repeatedly, trying to find its mother.
2. A favorite or vulnerable individual: Jack's aunt is a perfect lamb and she will do just about anything for him.
lamb (LAM) (verb)
Giving birth to baby sheep: The shepherd stayed with the flock of ewes when it was time to lamb in case there might be any difficulties.

To celebrate the return of Trisha's nephew from his two week lam, or fast departure from home, her uncle decided to have a fete and to roast some lamb on the BBQ (BarBeQue).

lama, llama
lama (LAH muh) (noun)
A Tibetan monk: The lama was revered by many people.
llama (LAH muh) (noun)
One of several wild or domesticated animals in South America related to camels but having no hump and when domesticated they are used to carry loads and their wool is used for weaving, etc.: The woman was leading the llama which was bearing baskets of fruit to the local outdoor market.

When the Tibetan lama visited Argentina, he was surprised to see a llama carrying his luggage to the mountain retreat.

lame, lamé
lame (LAYM) (adjective)
1. Disabled so that movement, especially walking, is difficult or impossible: Being lame from the accident, Bonita had to step carefully with a cane.

A lame wing kept the bird from flying.

2. Weak and ineffectual; unsatisfactory: Dale made a lame attempt to apologize for his slanderous remarks.

Aurora had some lame excuses for not arriving on time.

lamé (la MAY) (noun)
A brocaded fabric woven with metallic threads, often of gold or silver: Mildred wore a very fancy dress made of lamé to the dance.

Trina's elegant gown sewn with lamé was designed to minimize the fact that she was lame in one leg and had a slight limp.

laps, laps, lapse, lapse, Lapps, elapse, relapse
laps (LAPS) (noun)
1. The flat spots created when people are seated which are formed by the tops of the thighs and the upright portions of the abdomen: The children sat in a circle on the rug with a toy on their laps.
2. The distance covered, as on a racecourse: Leonar ran three laps around the track before tripping and falling down just before the finish line.
laps (LAPS) (verb)
1. To overlay two surfaces in such a manner that there is little or no space between them: The roofer carefully laps the new shingles so the rain will not get in.
3. To move food or liquid to the mouth using the tongue: The dog laps the water quickly because it is very thirsty.
lapse (LAPS) (noun)
An error usually caused by forgetfulness: Mildred's lapse of memory seemed to be caused by her illness over several months.
lapse (LAPS) (verb)
1. To end protection or coverage in an insurance policy due to lack of payment: Mike's health care plan is about to lapse, so he thinks he'd better send a check right away.
2. To subside or to sink away gradually from a typical pattern of belief or behavior: Brittney was ill and slowly began to lapse into a coma.
Lapps (LAPS) (noun)
People who live in the Northern Scandinavian countries, Finland, and Northern Russia who were historically known as nomadic hunters: During Trina's circumpolar travels, she noticed that the Lapps wore warm and colorful clothing during the winter.
elapse (i LAPS) (noun)
A passage or gap in time between events: There was an elapse of ten years from the time Marvin left home until he decided to return.
relapse (ri LAPS) (noun)
A backsliding, recurrence, or worsening: Dr. Smith told her patient that she was experiencing a relapse of her former illness and should go to bed to rest.

At the international racing competition, the Lapps ran three consecutive laps when they only needed to run two laps; the runners later decided they had a slight lapse of memory about how many laps to run.

They were so tired that they sat on the benches with bottles of water on their laps and they joked that they hoped that they didn't have another relapse of memory or at least not until there was an elapse of several years.

largess, largesse, largest
largess (lahr ZHES, lahr JES, LAHR jes") (noun)
A generous gift, often money, to someone in a poor economic situation: The bank manager’s largess towards the merchant, whose business was having financial difficulties, was admirable.
largesse (lahr ZHES, lahr JES, LAHR jes") (noun)
A variation in the spelling of "largess", the act of giving away money or the quality of the person who gives money away: Nathan relied on the largesse of friends after he lost his job.
largest (LAHRJ ist) (adjective)
Descriptive of a size or amount greater than the others of the same category; the superlative form: Etta was so hungry that she took the largest, or biggest, portion of dessert which was on the platter.

The largest donor to the ballet company was well-known for her civic largess to many worthy causes.

lascivious, licentious, lust, lust
lascivious (luh SIV ee uhs) (adjective)
Wanton, lewd, salacious: In the film, Marissa played a character who was described as a lascivious dancer in a night club.
licentious (ligh SEN shuhs) (adjective)
Characteristic of behavior that is considered immoral, illegal, and disregarding rules of a typical society; often with a sexual connotation: The politician was brought before the courts on charges relating to his licentious conduct.
lust (LUHST) (verb)
To desire something very much in a strong way: Some investors lust so much for money that they completely ignore the potential for losses.
lust (LUHST) (noun)
Intense longing or sexual desire: The novel described the lust of the villain for the beautiful and innocent young woman.

The lust of the antagonist in the dime novel knew no bounds, frequently demonstrating a licentious disregard for morality and engaging in lascivious behavior.

last, last, latest, latest
last (LAST) (verb)
To continue in a fresh, unimpaired state, for a long period of time: Grace said, "Trina, if you change the water daily, the beautiful flowers will last for at least a week."
last (LAST) (noun)
1. A form made of metal, wood, plastic, etc. that is shaped like the human foot and is used to create or to mend footwear: The cobbler used a wooden last to make the fine leather shoes.
2. Being at the end of something or at the final point: Despite Harry's best efforts, he was the last to finish the race.
latest (LAY tist) (noun)
The most recent or nearest in order of time: This tractor, which is the newest model, is the latest in farm equipment.
latest (LAY tist) (adjective)
Recently developed or considered most fashionable: Marina always wore the latest style in clothes and had shoes to match.

The cobbler used a hand carved last to make shoes for the dancer which incorporated the latest technology for comfort and safety.

When the job was finished, he commented, "These shoes should last you for a long time."

lateral, literal
lateral (LAT uhr uhl) (adjective)
Relating to something situated on or at the side: In the mine, the engineers dug a lateral shaft to explore for silver ore.
literal (LIT uhr uhl) (adjective)
Referring to the most typical, most common, and most basic meaning of terms or expressions: While writing an essay for school, Nikki tried hard to maintain a literal description of the events without exaggerating.

Luis said he was using the word in its literal or actual sense.

The professor encouraged lateral thinking in the course on creative problem solving; however, there was one jokester who tried to be literal and changed his seat, moving to the side of the room.

lath, lathe
lath (LATH, soft or silent as in think or nothing) (noun)
Construction material, such as thin slats of wood fastened to major uprights in a building, used to create the foundation for applying plaster, tiles, etc.: The lath in the dwelling was made of redwood and was easy to install.
lathe (LAYth, sounded as with then or father) (noun)
A machine that holds the primary material in a horizontal position so it can be rotated against a fixed blade to cut or carve the primary material: Tammie used the lathe to turn out handsome legs for the new table.

During the construction project, the teams of workers divided the jobs; three workers nailed the lath to the studs in preparation for plastering and the other two workers used the lathe to make the new posts for the staircase.

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