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

(lists of "V" 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.

vail, vale, veil, veil
vail (VAYL), (noun)
Removing one's hat as a sign of respect: "The knight decided to veil his helmet when the princess rode past."
vale (VAYL), (noun)
A valley or a long depression in the surface of the land that usually contains a river: "She followed the path down through the vale to reach her destination."
veil (VAYL), (noun)
1. A piece of cloth or net worn usually by women over the head and shoulders and sometimes over the face: "The bride wore a beautifully handmade lace veil on her wedding day."
2. Something that covers or hides something else: "A veil of moss covered the trees next to the meandering stream, like in a fairy tale."
veil (VAYL), (verb)
To hide or to partly hide something: "The clouds will veil the sun more and more today."

The mist hung like a veil over the vale and the village seemed to veil out of sight in the heavy mist.

vain, vane, vein
vain (VAYN) (adjective)
1. Excessively proud of one's appearance or accomplishments; conceited: "He was always so vain about his athletic accomplishments: he couldn't stop his bragging!"
2. Not yielding the desired outcome; fruitless: "He made a vain attempt to pass his chemistry test."
vane (VAYN) (noun)
A device for indicating wind direction: "The weather vane was used to show which way the wind was blowing."
vein (VAYN) (noun)
Any of the membranous tubes that form a branching system and carry blood to the heart: "The doctor told her that she had a clogged blood vein."

When the newly graduated doctor wrote that his patient's blood vane needed medical attention, the head physician said that it was the first time he had ever heard of the wind influencing a vain blood vein.

valet, valet, valley, volley, volley
valet (VAL it, VAL ay, va LAY) (noun)
1. A person who parks cars for guests at a hotel, restaurant, etc.: "The valet was already there when the limousine arrived."
2. A man's personal male servant: "The valet cleaned the man's shoes every evening before retiring for the night."
valet (VAL it, VAL ay, va LAY) (verb)
To clean very well: "Her son was willing to valet her car regularly for a fixed wage."
valley (VAL ee) (noun)
1. An area of low land between hills or mountains: "There is a large river running through the valley."
2. A low period, point, or level: "There was a peak and a valley in the usage of gas throughout each month of the last year."
volley (VAHL ee) (verb)
1. To hit a ball while it is in the air and before it touches the ground: "While playing tennis she was finally able to volley the ball over the net."
volley (VAHL ee) (noun)
A large number of bullets, arrows, stones, etc., that are shot or thrown at the same time: "The enemy was attacked by a volley of arrows flying through the air."
2. A lot of comments, questions, etc., that are directed at a person very quickly: "A volley of questions were presented to the head officer by the press."

The valet said he would valet her car right after he had driven down to the valley; however, he left quickly before a volley of questions could delay his departure.

varied, various
varied (VAIR eed, VAR eed) (adjective)
Having many forms or types, including several different things: "After being sick for so long she is now trying to eat a more varied diet."
various (VAIR ee uhs, VAR ee uhs) (adjective)
A reference to several different or many different things, people, etc.: "Various pop bands played at the concert last night."

The music program was varied because various bands and soloists were invited to perform.

vary, very
vary (VAIR ee, VAR ee) (verb)
1. To be different or to become different; to change: "The price of the rooms in the hotel can vary depending on the holidays."
2. To make something different, to make changes to something so that it is not always the same: "He tries to vary the menu by trying to offer something new each week."
very (VER ee) (adverb)
1. To a great degree, extremely: "The foreigner was so unsure of himself that he talked very slowly."
2. Used to emphasize the exactness of a description: "Mom and Dad said I could have my very own room now and I don't have to share it with my sister anymore."

The price of tickets may vary; so, if your seat is very high in the balcony, it will be cheaper than if you sit on the main floor.

vassal, vessel
vassal (VAS uhl) (noun)
A person in the past who received protection and land from a lord in return for loyalty and service; often used figuratively to describe a person, country, etc., that is controlled by someone or something more powerful: "The little country will become a vassal of the empire."
vessel (VES uhl) (noun)
1. A ship or large boat: "We traveled with the sailing vessel along the coast before landing."
2. A vein or artery that carries blood through the body: "You could easily see main blood vessel on his arm."
3. An open dish or container typically for liquids: "Some wine was served from the old drinking vessel."

The vassal was asked to carry the vessel to the table where it was packed in a box and taken to a large river-going vessel for shipment to its destination.

vault, volt
vault (VAWLT) (noun)
1. An arched structure that forms a ceiling or roof: "All the tourists gazed at the vault of the cathedral before continuing their tour of the church."
2. A locked room where money or valuable things are kept: "I had never been in the bank vault before."
vault (VAWLT) (verb)
To jump over something, especially to jump over something by using your hands or a pole to push yourself upward: "He was able to vault over the fence easily."
volt (VOHLT) (noun)
1. A unit for measuring the force of an electrical current: "Do you have a nine-volt battery that I could use?"
2. A quick jump or movement during fencing to avoid a thrust: "The fencing master taught the students how to use the volt so their opponents couldn't score."

When the man was exploring the ancient vault under the market square, he carried a nine volt battery for his portable light so he could see if he needed to vault over the broken stones.

venal, venial, vernal
venal (VEE nuhl) (adjective)
Willing to do dishonest things in return for money; being corrupt: The venal banker was soon discharged from his position.
venial (VEE nee uhl, VEEN yuhl) (adjective)
Not serious, forgivable: Evelyn was forgiven for her venial mistake of accusing her brother of taking her pen, which was not true.
vernal (VUR nuhl) (adjective)
Of, relating to, or occurring in the spring: The narcissuses outside the family's living room window are in their vernal bloom.

The little girl was so enchanted by the vernal greenness of the garden that she committed a venial act of picking the flowers.

The house and garden belonged to a stranger whom the neighbors thought of as venal because there were rumors that he had been arrested for committing fraud.

vending, venting
vending (VEND ing) (verb)
To sell by means of a machine that sells items for money or by peddling: "He was vending more wholesome food than the others."
venting (VENT ing) (VEND ing) (verb)
1. To express (one's thoughts or feelings, for example), especially forcefully; usually in a loud or angry manner: "She was venting her frustrations by yelling at the driver who suddenly cut in front of her car."
2. To release or to discharge (steam, for example) through an opening: "We were venting the fumes from the chemical mixture by opening the windows."

The woman found herself venting her anger when the vending machine took her money and didn't even give her the bag of chips that she wanted.

veneer, venue
veneer (vuh NIR) (VEND ing) (noun)
1. A thin layer of wood or other material that is attached to the surface of something in order to make it look better: "The veneer on the edges of the shelves gave them a very elegant appearance."
2. A way of behaving or appearing that gives other people a false idea of your true feelings or situation: "Their marriage appeared to be wonderful, but it was really just a veneer."
venue (VEN yoo) (noun)
The place where an event takes place: "The venue of the trial of the murderer had to be kept a secret."

The wood panels which lined the walls of the large venue where the reception was held were made of oak veneer.

venomous, venous, Venus
venomous (VEN uh muhs) (adjective)
Capable of putting poison or venom into another animal's body usually by biting or stinging it: "Sometimes a bee sting can be venomous for some people and has to be treated immediately."
venous (VEE nuhs) (adjective)
Full of or characterized by veins, veiny: "The venous tissue was being examined by the doctor."
Venus (VEE nuhs) (noun)
1. The planet that is second in order from the sun: "Venus is the planet that you can often see close to the moon on clear nights."
2. The Roman goddess of beauty and love: "When in Rome, I saw a beautiful statue of the goddess Venus."

In her youth, she was compared to Venus; however, with age, her legs became very venous. The dramatic change in her looks gave rise to venomous gossip.

veracious, voracious
veracious (vuh RAY shuhs) (adjective)
Observant of the truth; habitually speaking the truth: "I always trusted her veracious behavior towards me."
voracious (vaw RAY shuhs, vuh RAY shuhs) (adjective)
Having or showing a tendency to consume large quantities of food, knowledge, etc.: "My son has such a voracious appetite that I have to go grocery shopping everyday!"

The student's voracious appetite for knowledge resulted in his veracious statements to the librarian about the books he borrowed.

veracity, voracity
veracity (vuh RAS i tee) (noun)
1. Truth or accuracy: "They had to question the veracity of his remarks regarding the accident."
2. The quality of being truthful or honest: "The lawyer hoped the jury wouldn't doubt the veracity of the witness."
voracity (vaw RAY shuhs, vuh RAY shuhs) (noun)
The quality or state of having or showing a tendency to eat very large amounts of food or to consume or to desire large amounts of something; such as, knowledge: "His voracity was demonstrated by his greedy behavior at the dinner table."

The voracity of his mind to read and to absorb new information was matched by the veracity of his essays which were written in lucid or easy to understand prose.

verses, versus
verses (VUR suhs) (noun)
1. Writing in which words are arranged in a rhythmic pattern; poetry: "An epic tale can be written with verses."
2. A part of a poem or song: "How many verses does this poem have?"
versus (VUR suhs, VUR suhz) (preposition)
1. Used to indicate the two people, teams, etc., that are fighting or competing against each other or which are opposed to each other in a legal case: "In 2008, the United States presidential election consisted of Barack Obama versus John McCain."
2. Used to indicate two different things, choices, etc., that are being compared or considered: "We have a choice of staying home this summer versus going to Europe on vacation."

The woman was never sure which gave her the most pleasure; to read verses that were published in the newspaper versus reading verses in books.

vertex, vortex
vertex (VUR teks") (noun)
A point where two lines meet to form an angle; especially, the point on a triangle that is opposite to the base: "Her algebra teacher told her that the vertex of her triangle wasn't correctly calculated."
vortex (VOR teks") (noun)
A mass of spinning air, liquid, etc., that pulls things into its center; sometimes used figuratively: "The exciting tale 'A Descent into the Maelstrom', by Edgar Allan Poe, tells of a ship being pulled down into the vortex of the Maelstrom."

The teacher was caught in the vortex of controversy about the textbook for her geometry classes. There seemed to be a question about the veracity of the formula for calculating the vertex of a triangle.

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