Confusing Words Clarified: Group A; Homonyms, Homophones, Homographs, Synonyms, Polysemes, etc.
(lists of "A" 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.
Your comments and suggestions are always welcome by writing to: E-mail Contact (just click it for an e-mail form) or by typing, firstname.lastname@example.org, as the address in your e-mail heading.
If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.
2. Zero (usually a naught): All of the experts efforts to complete the project on time was for naught.
2. Used especially to describe a child who does not behave properly or does not obey a parent, teacher, etc.: The mother received a call from the principal of her daughter's school saying that the girl was naughty because she wouldn't quit talking while the teacher was trying to explain how to do arithmetic problems.
3. As a play on the word: a reference to anything with a zero, or zeros: Years that include zeros can be described as being naughty years; not because they behaved badly or were disobedient, but because they include "naughts or numbers with zeros".
2. Used to say or to suggest what should be done: Jane told her daughter, "You ought to get some rest now and then after that you ought to do your homework."
Someone has suggested that since zero means naught, then anyone who is born during a year that has zeros in it ought to be described as a naughty person (not with the meaning of "bad") because he/she was born in a year with a naught or naughts in its numerical composition; such as, 2001 or 2010; in other words, naughty years.
For aught I know, the more zeros in a year the naughtier the people are who were born in those years and the naughtiest, we must agree, ought to be those who came into existence in the year 2000 which has the most naughts.
Ted's dog obeys both oral commands and hand gestures.2. Treating the mouth, of the mouth; swallowed, taken into the body through the mouth: An oral surgeon removed the impacted wisdom tooth from David's mouth.
Kendra's friend was fitted with an aural device which was designed to help her understand oral statements; such as, when her dentist referred her to an oral surgeon for a consultation.
2. The outermost region of the sun's atmosphere; visible as a white halo during a solar eclipse: By using the special telescope, the students were able to see the aureole of the sun during the eclipse.
2. A North American songbird of which the males tend to be brightly colored, black, orange or yellow: The American baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles, was named after the colorful bird, the oriole.
Stan noticed when the blue oriole flew across the path of the setting sun, it appeared as if it were surrounded by an aureole of golden light.
2. An ear-shaped muscular part that sticks out from the surface of each upper chamber atrium of the heart: Cardiologists are quite aware of each auricle of the heart.
2. Anyone who has a great deal of knowledge about something and whose opinions and advice are highly valued: I knew him long before he became the oracle of linguistics.
The auricle should not to be confused with oracle because neither the ear shape nor the upper chamber of the heart possess oracular powers.
The cashier required the singer to put his signature on the check before it could be cashed; however, she next asked Erwin for his autograph on the picture which she had obtained the night before at his concert.
2. The self-moving transfer of one unit of a complex industrial assembly to a succession of machines, each of which completes another stage in a manufacturing process: Modern automobile companies are using more automation than were used decades ago.
2. A person who acts in a mechanical or machinelike way: Hans was behaving like an unfeeling automaton.
Lorena's uncle was so surprised to see what the new automation was able to do, that he was moving like an automaton; that is, moving as if he were in a daze of amazement.
Bill planned to avenge his brother's death by burning the murderer's house down.
The tree that was chopped down in Judge Desmond's front yard looked like an act of vengeance, as if someone were trying to avenge himself because of the decisions that, as the chief magistrate, he made in court in which he chided the accused for attempting to revenge himself against his neighbor.
2. To prevent, to turn away: The quick arrival of firefighters would avert a major forest fire.
2. To distract; to turn from serious thoughts: Divert Gwen's attention by pointing up to the sky.
3. To entertain by distracting attention of someone from worrisome thoughts or concerns; to amuse or to entertain: The teacher's funny stories helped to divert the children in the class from being so noisy.
Essie will aver to you that the clerk at the bake shop attempted to divert her attention by getting her to avert her eyes when he had to evert the bag in which she was placing the doughnuts that Essie was buying.
Anytime someone is able to combine his or her avocation and vocation; such as, being a professor of literature and writing a novel in the spare time, is a very lucky person indeed.
2. To stay clear of or away from someone or something: Darius took a detour onto another street to avoid the heavy traffic.
3. To keep from doing something or participating in something: Anton promised that he won't be late; that is, if he can avoid it.
When Freda took the detour to avoid the downtown traffic congestion, she had no idea that she would see a city so devoid of green space.
2. Retribution for evil acts; receiving what someone deserves: Eventually, the evildoer will get his just reward.
3. Money offered or given for the capture of a criminal: Desmond received a monetary reward for providing information that led to the apprehension of the bank robber.
During the awards ceremony, the president stated, "It gives me great pleasure to reward Elvin's valiant behavior with this award; actually it is a double award including this medal and a scholarship."
Dixie and Hal sent the children away to boarding school.2. At or to a distance in space or time: The Quinton family lived a block away from the park.
3. At or by a considerable interval: The scientist lived away back in the 17th century.
The position of an anchor as it is raised clear of the bottom is referred to as being aweigh.
The sailors sang a shanty which began with the expression, "Anchors aweigh, lads, anchors aweigh" as the ship drew away from the dock. "Hurray! The anchor is aweigh and we are away to the Far East."
Kendrick was guilty of the awful crime of murder.2. Awe-inspiring, awesome, wondrous: The astronauts know the awful expanse of the solar system.
The word offal is actually the waste parts that “fall off” a butchered animal. The word comes from "off" + "fall".
English borrowed the word from Middle Dutch afval, a compound formed from af, "off" and vallen, "fall" which referred to both the "extremities of animals cut off by the butcher; such as, feet, tail, etc." and "shavings, peelings", or "general refuse". By the 15th century, offal had the meaning of "animals' entrails".
"Garbage is an offal waste".
"What is that awful smell?" Lucia asked. The response was, "It's offal that smells so awful".
Grandmother is going to sit and rest awhile.
This cold weather has been around awhile.
Jenny is going to be away for a while.
Mr. and Mrs. Roberts had to wait quite a while.
Jeff and Susan had to wait for a while before their meals were served.
Elvin's mother asked him to stay awhile, just a little while longer.
2. Cutting or removing something: The program director thought the only solution was a series of axes of television programs from the new seasonal schedule.
2. A straight line that divides a shape evenly into two parts: An axis is a central line around which the parts of an object are symmetrically or evenly arranged.
3. An affiliation of two or more nations to promote and ensure mutual interest, cooperation, and solidarity in their relations with foreign powers: The Axis, or alliance, of Germany and Italy in 1936, later including Japan and other nations, opposed the Allies in World War II.
There was an interesting photograph collage of many ancient axes mounted on the wall behind the six representatives of the nations comprising the peace axis during their negotiations.