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

(lists of "W" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)

Words are timeless. You should utter them or write them with a knowledge of their meanings and timelessness.

—Khalil Gibran, mystic, poet, and artist (1883-1931)

If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.

wade, weighed
wade (WAYD) (verb)
1. To walk through water or anything that is difficult to walk through: It is nice to wade in the stream looking for pretty stones.

Frank had to wade through the tall grass to get to the top of the hill.

2. To become involved with something potentially risky or dangerous: Despite his better judgment, the police officer decided to wade into the unruly crowd.
weighed (WAYD) (verb)
1. Having found out how heavy someone or something was: Because Paula was dieting, she weighed two pounds less than she did a week ago.

Neil found out that the bananas weighed more than the pears.

2. Having thought carefully about something and formed an opinion or made a decision: Before making a decision about buying a new car, Ted weighed the pros and the cons.

Cindy was carrying her little brother on her back, whom she declared weighed a ton, when she tried to wade across the stream.

wafer, waiver, waver
wafer (WAY fuhr) (noun)
A thin crisp cracker: "Rita drank sherry and ate a wafer before dinner was served."
waiver (WAY vuhr) (noun)
The act of choosing not to use or to require something that is normally allowed or which is usually required: "The lawyer for the defendant asked the judge if he would allow a waiver of a jury trial."

"The teacher indicated that she would have a waiver of any final exam for that particular class."

waver (WAY vuhr) (verb)
1. To go back and forth between choices or opinions, to be uncertain about what you think about something or someone: "The organization members all declared that they will never waver in their support for their president."

"Erik didn't waver in his decision to retire from teaching school."

2. To become unsteady because of weakness, emotion, tiredness, etc.: "During long sermons at church, Jack's attention would sometimes waver because he was thinking about other things."

"Kim's voice seemed to waver while she was telling her friends about the accident."

Keith decided to have a glass of milk and a cheese wafer or two while his mother seemed to waver about his request to grant a waiver to his early curfew.

waffle, waffle
waffle (WAH fuhl) (noun)
1. A crisp cake with a pattern of deep squares on both sides that is made by cooking batter in a special device called a waffle iron: "Each member of the family had a waffle for breakfast this morning."
2. An informal British term meaning foolish or dull talk or writing that continues for a long time: "The speech was a load of waffle about politics."
waffle (WAH fuhl) (verb)
To be unable or unwilling to make a clear decision about what to do: "Every time Paul spoke, it was to waffle from one point of view to another one."

Having breakfast with some people is always interesting. So often someone will waffle back and forth between whether to have pancakes for breakfast or to have a waffle with syrup, while maintaining a dull waffle about the weather.

wage, wage
wage (WAYJ) (noun)
An amount of money that a worker is paid based on the number of hours, days, etc., that are worked: "The company was offering a competitive wage and a good program of benefits."
wage (WAYJ) (verb)
To start and to continue a war, battle, etc., in order to get or to achieve something: "Some rebels were trying to wage a guerrilla war against the government."

"The politicians decided to wage a battle against the proposed new law."

The union leadership decided to wage a strike against their employer in hopes of gaining a higher hourly wage and increased benefits for their members.

wail, whale, whale
wail (WAYL) (verb)
To make a prolonged, high-pitched sound suggestive of a cry: "Wendy could hear the wind wail through the trees."
whale (HWAYL, WAYL) (noun)
Any of various marine mammals of the order Cetacea, having the general shape of a fish with forelimbs modified to form flippers, a tail with horizontal flukes, and one or two blowholes for breathing; especially, one of the very large species as distinguished from the smaller dolphins and porpoises: "The whale is still sought after for its flesh by certain countries."
whale (HWAYL, WAYL) (verb)
1. To strike or to hit repeatedly and forcefully; to thrash: "Josephine was so angry and out of control that she started to whale the cushion on the couch with her fists."
2. To attack vehemently: "The politician was on TV where people could hear him whale away at his critics."

If the biggest animal in the ocean could cry loudly, would that be considered a whale wail or even a wailing whale; especially if someone were whaling it?

waist, waste, waste, waste
waist (WAYST) (noun)
The middle part of the body between the hips and the chest or upper back that is or may be more narrow than the areas above and below it: "Tina had a leather belt around her waist."

"James has a narrow waist and broad shoulders as a result of working out so often."

waste (WAYST) (noun)
Loss of something valuable which occurs because too much of it is being used or because it is being used in a way that is not necessary or effective: "Some of these computers are still useful. It seems to be such a waste to throw them away."

"Too much water has resulted in waste because of excessive or careless use; such as, steam, that escapes without being used or leaving the faucet on when the water is actually not being used."

waste (WAYST) (adjective)
Material that is left over or unwanted after something has been made, done, used, etc.: "Waste materials may refer to hazardous substances, disposal of industrial refuse or rubbish, waste removal, and household trash, etc."
waste (WAYST) (verb)
To use carelessly: "The sign read: Please don't waste electricity! Turn off the lights when you leave the room."

When some people are eating, if they are dieting, some of the food may go to waste; but, they can be sure that if they over eat, it will go to their waist.

Some people simply waste their time trying to keep their waist slim and trim.

There's an old saying that says, "Haste makes waste." Well, there are also those who believe that "Haste can reduce waists."

Sam's wife told him that working out to reduce his waist and continuing to eat so much was turning out to be a waste of his time and money!

wait, weight, weight
wait (WAYT) (verb)
1. To stay in a place until an expected event happens, until someone arrives, until it is your turn to do something, etc.: "Please wait here and Robert will be back in five minutes."
2. To serve food or drink as in a restaurant or other eating place: "The waitress will wait on your table in a few minutes."

weight (WAYT) (noun)
1. A measurement that indicates how heavy a person or thing is: "Please write down your weight in kilos and not in pounds."
2. A heavy object that is lifted during exercising: "Karl lifted up a ten pound weight with his index finger!"
3. A difficult responsibility: "Keith had hoped that he could have taken off the weight or burden from his shoulders, but he couldn't."
weight (WAYT) (verb)
To secure something by placing a heavy object on top of it: "Timothy decided to weight the stack of papers down so they wouldn't blow away."

Ron, if you want to determine the weight of your package, you will have to wait until the weighing scale is available.

Weight is what a man always loses when his wife is on a diet.

—Evan Esar
waive, wave, wave
waive (WAYV) (verb)
1. To refrain from insisting on or using a right or a claim: "Ed will waive all rights to the money he has inherited so his daughter can have enough funding for her university expenses."
2. To abstain from applying or enforcing a rule, a restriction, or a fee: "The college will waive Mary's tuition expenses because she has a scholarship that will pay for the necessary costs."

"The schools waive the costs for books for low-income students."

wave (WAYV) (noun)
1. An area of moving water that is raised above the main surface of an ocean, a lake, etc.: "There was a huge wave that almost upset the boat."
2. A strong feeling that suddenly affects someone: "An unexpected wave of fatigue overcame Robin after working two days without sleep."
wave (WAYV) (verb)
To make a repeated movement of the hand or of something held in the hand; especially, as a signal or greeting: "Frank saw Jill wave her hand hello after the train came to a stop in the station."

With the wave of her pen, the librarian was able to waive the overdue fine on the book which Frank lost and he was happy to wave goodbye as a sign of appreciation.

wander, wonder, wonder
wander (WAHN duhr) (verb)
To move around without a definite destination or purpose; to meander: "Sam could see the old woman wander back and forth several times on the same street long after midnight."
wonder (WUHN duhr) (noun)
Someone or something that arouses awe, astonishment, surprise, or admiration; a marvel: "Rita, Dawn, and Connie gazed with wonder at the northern lights."

"Lori thinks her old computer is still a technological wonder."

wonder (WUHN duhr) (verb)
To have a feeling of awe or admiration; to marvel: "Ashley couldn't help but wonder at the beautiful display of fireworks that were being used to introduce the new year."

It is a wonder to Carmen how some people can wander around in an art gallery all day and still wonder at all of the art works.

wane, wax, wax
wane (WAYN) (verb)
1. With reference to the moon, to appear to become thinner or less full: "Every month the moon will wane and then wax and then wane again, etc."
2. To become smaller or less, to decrease in size, amount, length or quality: "Tiffany's interest in buying the fancy shoes might wane when she hears how expensive they are."
wax (WAKS) (verb)
1. When referring to the moon, to appear to become larger or more full: "During the next two weeks the moon will wax and then everyone can see more of it."
2. To become larger or more, to increase in amount, size, etc.: "Albert's interest in the novel seems to wax depending on the amount of suspense there is."
3. To talk or write about something in a way that shows that you are experiencing a specified mood or feeling: "Whenever Gerald asks Cindy about her holiday, she will wax nostalgic for quite awhile about her trip to Europe."
4. To apply a protective substance to a surface: "Joe decided to wax his car even on a sunny day."
wax (WAKS) (noun)
A hard substance that becomes soft when it is heated and which is used to make various products; such as, candles, crayons, or polish: "Peggy and Carl used wax to make a variety of candles which they like to use to light their table during evening meals."

Paul's interest in the new wax museum will rapidly wane if this tour doesn't get started soon. There was a time when Wanda could wax enthusiastic, but now she seems to be getting jaded or weary and bored.

want, want, wont, won’t
want (WAHNT, WAWNT) (verb)
1. To desire or wish for something: "Marie, do you want more tea?"
2. To need something: "Terry will want to give his table another coat of paint tomorrow."
want (WAHNT, WAWNT) (noun)
The state or condition of not having any or enough of something: "Poor Grace has been suffering from want of proper sleep for some days."
wont (WAWT, WOHNT, WUHNT) (noun)
1. Likely to do something, having a tendency to do something: "Phyllis nibbled her fingers nails as she was wont to do, or as she often does, when she is nervous."
2. A habit or way of behaving: "Bill had some beer at the pub after work, as is his wont to do every evening."
won't (WOHNT) (verb)
Contraction of the phrase will not: "Sherry won't invite Jim to the party because she doesn't like him."

Eric decided that he won't invite his cousin to the party even though he knows that she will want to come because it is her wont to insist on singing even though she performs very loudly and out of tune.

war, wore
war (WOR) (noun)
1. A state or period of fighting between countries or groups: "The colonists fought a war against England."
2. An organized effort by a government or other large organization to stop or defeat something that is viewed as dangerous or bad: "The war to defeat cancer is being pursued in many countries."
wore (WOR, WOHR) (verb)
Past tense of to wear which means to use or to have something as clothing: "Jill wore new shoes to school yesterday."

Jose wore his comfortable shoes when he walked across the battle ground where a terrible war had been fought many years ago.

ware, wear, were, where
ware (WAIR) (noun)
Things which are made from a particular material or that are designed for a particular use; usually used in combination with a word to indicate the kind of material: "Keith can find the glassware in the cupboard in the kitchen."
wear (WAIR) (verb)
1. To use or to have something; such as, clothing, to have a shirt, pants, etc. over a part of one's body: "Lillian, will you wear your new shoes to school tomorrow?"
2. The act of using something as clothing: "These shoes are very good to wear everyday or as often as Carol wants to."
3. Damage that is caused by use: "Since so many people are walking on the old rug in the hallway, it is obvious that it will wear out and should be replaced soon."
were (WUR) (verb)
Past tense, plural, and second person singular of the verb to be: "We were all ready to go when Grandma called up ."
where (HWAIR, WAIR) (adverb)
1. Referring to a particular place that something is located in: "Sherry doesn't know where the car keys are."
2. Used for asking about or referring to a situation or a point in a process, discussion, story, etc.: "The police officer asked, Sam, where did you come from and where are you going?"

Paula's friends were all ready to go but she couldn’t decide what to wear to the glassware party and then she realized that she doesn't know where it is.

wares, wears
wares (WAIRZ) (noun)
Things that are being sold by someone: "Andrew was selling his wares at the local market."
wears (WAIRZ) (verb)
Present tense form, third person singular of the verb to wear; that is, to use or to have something as clothing: "Jill wears the same shoes to school every day."

In the children's story, the comical hat seller always wears his wares stacked on top of his head.

warn, worn
warn (WORN) (verb)
To tell someone to do or not to do something in order to avoid danger or trouble: "Parents warn their children to be careful when crossing streets."
worn (WORN) (verb)
Having been affected by wear or use: "Miltilda has worn the same shoes for five years!"

Paula tried to warn Bill that his shoes have holes in the soles. Actually, it looks as if he has worn them out.

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