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

(lists of "P" 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.

peaked, piqued
peaked (PEEKT) (adjective)
1. Characterizing an object with a pointed or sharp end: The hat that Craig wore had a peaked top and a visor.
2. Describing someone who is pale and in poor health: The little girl looked peaked and tired as she was lying in the hospital bed.
piqued (PEEK'd) (verb)
To have excited or provoked anger and resentment: Sean's rousing speech obviously piqued the crowd because the people stood and booed and jeered!

Randy's interest in becoming a doctor was piqued when he read about a group of peaked children living in a remote community surrounded by peaked mountains.

peal, peel, peel
peal (PEEL) (noun)
1. A loud resonance, such as thunder or the clanging of bells: Across the meadow, Janine could hear the peal of bells coming from the church in the valley.
2. A loud, easily heard sound: Sean could hear the peal of laughter coming from the auditorium during the funny song and dance routine.
peel (PEEL) (noun)
1. The skin of a fruit: The peel of the orange is aromatic and when grated makes a tasty flavoring for a cake.
2. A medieval fortification on the border between England and Scotland: The peel had a moat surrounding it to protect the inhabitants from an invasion.
3. A flat shovel shaped tool used by bakers to put items into an oven or to remove them from the oven: Polly used a wooden peel to remove the pizza from the brick kitchen appliance just before it was time to eat it.
peel (PEEL) (verb)
To cut away or to strip off the skin, covering, surface, or the outer layer of something: Polly will use a small knife to peel the orange for her breakfast.

The visitors were asked to peel off their coats as soon as they stepped into the house after having been in the rainstorm.

Shawn could hear the peal of laughter from the living room in the kitchen where he was trying to peel an orange. He saved the peel to use for a baking project that he was planning for the weekend.

pealing, peeling, peeling
pealing (PEEL ing) (noun)
1. The ringing of acoustic devices: The participants could hear the pealing of the bells after the wedding ceremony.
2. A loud sound of laughter or a prolonged, usually reverberating sound, as of bells or thunder: The pealing of cachinnation and hilarity of the audience could be easily heard outside the auditorium.

People outside the bank could hear the pealing of tires as the robbers quickly drove away from the bank.

peeling (PEEL ing) (noun)
The skin of something; such as, the outer skin of fruit that has been removed: Shanna put the peeling of each apple into the compost.
peeling (PEEL ing) (verb)
Removing the outer layer of something: Shanna is peeling the apples with her fancy new peeler.

Mary's skin was peeling because of the bad sunburn she got at the beach.

Because of Bill's peeling sunburn, his wife was pealing with laughter at the sight of his red face.

pean, paean; peon
pean, paean (PEE uhn) (noun)
A song of praise associated with ancient Greece or praise expressed for something in a formal manner: On their tour of Greece, Cleo and Chuck attended a ceremony in the amphitheater at which the actors sang a pean to the gods and deities.

When the president of the company retired, several of his colleagues expressed their desire to compose a pean to celebrate his accomplishments.

peon (PEE ahn", PEE uhn) (noun)
1. A worker typically indentured to another individual and held in compulsory service to pay off a debt: Jennifer's great grandfather came to the country as a peon to the merchant who had paid his fare on the ship.
2. A landless laborer in South America: The peon hired himself out to the owner of the hacienda in exchange for food and lodging.
3. East Asian workers often associated with the military: The local village elder enlisted as a peon with the military as an orderly.

The peon, who was hired by Jean's uncle for the summer, recited a pean to the gods who oversaw the harvests.

pearl, purl, purl
pearl (PURL) (noun)
1. Someone who is special and unique: Marina's friends described her as a pearl among women because she was always gentle and kind.
2. An object frequently used as a gem which is formed within the shell of a bivalve or mollusk as the result of the production of layers of secretion which encase an irritating foreign object and is often colored and lustrous: Aurora discovered a pearl in an oyster while she was eating some of them at dinner.
3. A gem which is made from the covered irritant in a bivalve: Francisca wore a necklace of a large pearl and earrings with a beautiful pearl on each one.
4. Something that is cylindrical and luminescent: Dew drops, each one of which was like a pearl, were glistening on the blades of grass as the sun came out.
purl (PURL) (verb)
To embroider or to stitch with gold and silver thread: Greg's sister decided to purl a design on her jacket.
purl (PURL) (noun)
1. A swirling stream or gentle murmur: When Aimee was hiking in the meadow, she came across a purl that looked fresh and inviting, so she took off her boots and soaked her feet.

Dennis could hear the gentle purl of the birds as they were settling in the bushes for the night.

2. A stitch used in knitting, often used in conjunction with a knit stitch to create a smooth surface: Marina's teacher recited "knit one, purl one", in hopes that she would learn to knit properly.

When Andrew's aunt was knitting a jacket, she used the "knit one, purl one" pattern.

Before she was done, she decided to purl a lovely design on the sleeves, including the pearls which she had from a broken necklace.

pedal, pedal, peddle, petal
pedal (PED'l) (noun)
1. The foot treadle or leaver that is pressed down to activate the attached machinery: Trisha pumped the pedal of the organ so it could be played.

The pedal on his grandmother's sewing machine was fun for Andrew to use.

2. A lever set in motion for circular drive; treadle: When using her grandmother's old sewing machine, Bonita used her right foot to press on the pedal which made the whole thing work.
pedal (PED'l) (verb)
To operate a bicycle using the feet: Josie was going to pedal her bicycle home but she was too tired and decided to push it instead.
peddle (PED'l) (verb)
To travel from place to place with items for sale: Doug's aunt used to peddle household cleaning products in the neighborhood by going from house to house.
petal (PET'l) (noun)
One of the leaves of a flower: The pink petal from the rosebush fell off and was floating on a puddle of water.

After Jeremy decided to peddle the produce from his garden in town, he realized he would have to pedal his bicycle up the hill and as he brushed next to the rosebushes, he discovered some pink petals on his pants.

pedant, pendent, pundit
pedant (PED nt) (noun)
1. An individual who approaches teaching in a formal and often unimaginative manner: Bill's history instructor is such a pedant that it is hard to concentrate on what she is saying.
2. A person who flaunts the educational background which has been achieved: The supervisor impressed Ronald as a pedant because she never failed to mention that she had a Master’s Degree.
pendent (PEN duhnt) (noun)
1. Something that is suspended or hanging freely: Melissa wore a lustrous pearl pendent around her neck.
2. Ornamental roofs or ceilings characteristic of Gothic architecture: The roof line of the central building at the university was designed in the style of a pendent.
3. That which is secondary or supplementary: The last chapter in the book was a pendent added by the author to explain some of the basic information in the text.
pundit (PUHN dit) (noun)
A learned individual prone to give opinions in an authoritative manner: The editor of the newspaper often came across as a pundit when he started talking about ecology and conservation.

The pundit from the newspaper frequently impressed Douglas as a pedant when he was speaking.

He also noticed that the reporter wore a pendent around his neck with the insignia from his university.

peer, peer, peer, pier
peer (PIR) (verb)
To inspect closely and intently: The people tried to peer at the new baby elephant at the zoo.
peer (PIR) (noun)
1. Someone of the same rank, value, quality, ability, or standing: Jeff is Stacie's peer in terms of years of experience and education.
2. A member of one of several ranks within British aristocracy: Josh's favorite aunt married an English peer and moved to live with him in his castle in the country.
peer (PIR) (adjective)
Regarding social equality based on age, grade, or status: The peer group at Mamie's high school was very active in sports.
pier (PIR) (noun)
1. A protective structure built out over the water and supported by pillars and used as a landing place, a pleasure pavilion, or as a walk for pedestrians: The pier at Santa Barbara, California, was a great place to see fishermen, pelicans waiting for the men to toss them fish that were too small for people to eat, and a view of the Pacific Ocean.
2. The structural support between two openings in a wall; such as, two windows: The large ornate mirror hung in the pier in the dining room and reflected the candle light on the table.
3. A mass of stone, concrete, or steel used to provide support for a wall: The masons reinforced the wall with a pier of stone and gravel.

The visiting peer stood on the pier and watched the sunset spread over the ocean.

Calvin was talking to Hobbes: "I'd build a raft for this pond, but I don't have a place to dock it."

Hobbes replied: "I've always said you're a friend without pier. I guess you're under a lot of pier pressure."

—Based on a conversation in the "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoon.
pelisse, police, police
pelisse (puh LEES) (noun)
1. A long cloak or outer robe, usually of fur or with a fur lining: Lucinda's warm winter pelisse was made of dark wool and lined with beaver fur.
2. A woman's loose light cloak, often with openings for the arms: Latasha has a plaid pelisse which she wears when she goes to the opera.
police (puh LEES) (noun)
1. An organization or political unit whose function is to ensure the security, protection, and well-being of the community: A representative of the police went to Gregory's school to talk with the students about bicycle safety.
2. A branch of government which is concerned with the maintenance of order and compliance with regulations: The sign over the door read "POLICE", so Myrna knew she was in the right department.
police (puh LEES) (verb)
To monitor and to prevent violations of rules and regulations: Nettie and Tabitha were asked to police the halls at school on rainy days.

For the dress parade, the police each wore a dark blue pelisse with a crest embroidered on the lapel.

pelt, pelt
pelt (PELT) (noun)
1. The skin of an animal with the fur or hair still on it: The hunter was in the process of cutting the lion's pelt off its body.
2. A stripped animal skin ready for tanning: Jerome added the pelt of the fox to the others that were going to be prepared for making leather from rawhides.
pelt (PELT) (verb)
1. To strike or to assail repeatedly with or as if with blows or missiles; to bombard: Jerry decided that he was going to pelt the other guys with snowballs.
2. To cast, hurl, or throw objects: Chris could see the rioter trying to pelt the police with bottles from the dumpster.
3. To hit against something repeatedly: Rain and hail continued to pelt against the windowpanes for hours.

The celebrity was wearing the pelt of an animal as a coat which outraged the crowd who started to pelt her with paint balls.

pen, pen, pin, pin, PIN
pen (PEN) (verb)
To write with a specialized instrument that uses ink: The famous author decided to use a quill to pen his latest poem.
pen (PEN) (noun)
1. A fenced enclosure for animals: The sheep were kept in a pen next to the barn.
2. An instrument for writing: The museum had an exhibition entitled the "History of the Pen" with examples of a quill pen, a fountain pen, a retractable pen, etc.
3. A slang term referring to a penitentiary or jail for long term prisoners: The judge sentenced the gang member to seven years in the pen.
pin (PIN) (noun)
1. An instrument which is used to hold several pieces of material together, typically with a sharp point at one end and a knob on the other: The seamstress used a long thin pin to hold the fabric pieces together.
2. One of several wooden pieces that constitute the target in a game: When Trisha goes bowling, she has such poor luck when she only knocks one pin over at a time.
3. A peg that is the target for pitching a quoit or metal ring in a game of quoits: When Dennis threw the iron ring or horseshoe, it landed on the pin and he won the match.
4. The part of the stem of a key that goes into a lock: Reba was very upset because she broke the pin of the metal device and was not able to open the door.
5. The pole or staff of a flag used to mark the hole in a golf course: Estella was aiming for the red pin in the outdoor sport when it was her turn in the tournament.
pin (PIN) (adjective)
A reference to a trifle amount of something or that which is of minor value: Wendy had just enough pin money to spend when she went shopping.
PIN (PIN) (noun)
An acronym for Personal Identification Number: For a person's financial protection, the PIN should be kept in a separate place away from his or her bank card in case it is lost or stolen.

Kevin will use a pen to pen his PIN on a slip of paper and then he will use a safety pin to pin it to the inside of his coat jacket so he won't lose it.

A pin is a small object that's easily lost because it's always pointed in one direction and headed in the other.

—Evan Esar
penance, pennants
penance (PEN uhns) (noun)
1. An action or a behavior that suggests sorrow or regret for a serious transgression: Andrew went to church every day as a penance for having taken a book from the bookstore without paying for it.

Shawn's penance for shoplifting in the grocery store was to write an essay on the social costs of shoplifting.

2. A sacramental rite involving contrition, confession of sins to a priest, the acceptance of penalties, and absolution: The pastor led the rite of penance for those in the congregation who attended.
pennants (PEN uhnts) (noun)
1. Nautical flags used for identification and signaling: The ship entered the harbor with all the colorful pennants flying.
2. Flags often associated with a winning sports team: The pennants of the champion football team were purple and yellow.
3. Flags or banners that taper to a point at one end: The pennants of the knights who supported the king were hung in the chapel.

The fans at the soccer game waved their pennants with enthusiasm and accidentally broke a window; however, when their team lost, the fans were so sad they felt a sense of penance and told the owner they would replace the window.

pencil; pencil; pensile; pencel, pensil
pencil (PEN suhl) (noun)
1. A tool for writing or drawing that consists of a slender cylinder surrounding a solid center typically made of graphite also known as "lead":  The artist used a fine pencil for her sketches of the countryside.

The carpenter used a pencil that was flat on one side so it would not roll off her workspace.

2. A small stick of medication or cosmetics for local application: The doctor gave her a pencil of antibiotic cream to put on the scratches of her arm.
3. A gathering or mass of rays such as sunshine: A pencil of sunlight came through the wooden blinds of the window in the morning.
pencil (PEN suhl) (verb)
To write or to draw something with an instrument for marking: Alisha wants to pencil some notes on a piece of paper so she wouldn't forget what to pick up from the local market.
pensile (PEN sighl") (adjective)
Characteristic of something which hangs loosely; suspended: The birds nesting in the barn made pensile nests in the rafters.
pencel, pensil (PEN suhl) (noun)
A narrow flag, streamer, or pennon, especially one carried at the top of a spear: When the knight rode into the tournament, he carried the lance with the pencel which had been given to him by his sister.

The traveling artist used a pencil to sketch the pensile banners in the church.

Karin created a fanciful picture which included a knight riding into the churchyard with a pensil waving from the point of his lance which was lighted by a pencil of sunshine streaming through the colored windows.

pendant, pendent; pennant
pendant, pendent (PEN duhnt) (noun)
A piece of jewelry that hangs on a chain or a cord which is worn around a person's neck: Cara wore a beautiful pendant, or pendent, to the formal dance.
pennant (PEN uhnt) (noun)
1. A long, thin, pointed flag: Frank and Estella could see the pennant waving on the tower in the breeze.
2. In U.S. baseball, the prize that is awarded to the champions of the certain leagues each year: Kevin's local baseball team won the American League pennant this year.

When Patrick attended the reception in honor of the local baseball team for winning the pennant this season, he wore an ornate pendant (pendent) around his neck.

penitence, penitents
penitence (PEN i tuhns) (noun)
Regret, remorse, or contrition for one's past behavior: Forgiveness of any unacceptable action by a person requires penitence.
penitents (PEN i tuhnts) (noun)
Those who are feeling or expressing remorse for their misdeeds or sins: The penitents were seeking God's forgiveness for their misbehavior at the basketball game.

The penitents were gathered in the garden to plant trees as their penitence for having chopped down a tree by the side of the road.

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