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.

populace, populous, population, populist
populace (PAHP yuh lis) (noun)
The people; the masses in a location: The populace in the mountainous area of the country enjoy skiing in the winter.
populous (PAHP yuh luhs) (adjective)
Referring to a large number of individuals living in the same location; densely inhabited; crowded: The stadium was populous during the soccer playoffs.
population (pahp" yuh LAY shuhn) (noun)
1. The entire number of people or inhabitants in an area: The population of sheep exceeds the population of people in some agricultural countries.
2. A collection of individuals having common characteristics: The majority of the population in the city lived in single home dwellings.
3. A sampling of individuals who have been selected for statistical measurement: The poll results reflected the interests of the population in the rural areas of the country.
populist (PAHP yuh list) (noun)
Someone who believes in the rights and wisdom of the common people: Janette was a populist and her poetry about the freedom of speech appealed to the students at the university.
populist (PAHP yuh list) (adjective)
Concerning a political party which claims to represent the best interests of the common people: Brandon ran for governor on a populist ticket appealing to the farmers and shop keepers in the area for their vote.

Dorothea's poetry had a large populist following by the populace because she spoke about the concerns and feelings of the rural population. Here the populous was dealing with drought conditions affecting their lives.

poring, pouring
poring (POHR ing) (verb)
Engaging in studying intensely: Trudy was poring over her lesson plans carefully in anticipation of her first day of teaching.
pouring (POHR ing) (verb)
1. Dispensing a fluid or substance from a receptacle: The scientist was very careful as he was pouring the green liquid from one container to another.
2. Coming down in torrents: After a spectacular show of lightning and thunder, it was pouring rain during the afternoon.
3. Giving vent to intense emotions and feelings or expressing one's thoughts forcefully: Cleo was pouring out her grief to her friend as they sat on the bench in the park.

Janette was poring over her new magazine while she was pouring her morning tea.

portion, potion
portion (POHR shuhn) (noun)
1. An individual share or part: Sally asked, "Richard, would you like to have a portion of pie for dessert?"
2. A dowry or inheritance: The heiress' portion of her father's estate was considerable, and as a result, many suitors sought her hand.
3. An individual's lot or fate: Because Mike broke a window at school, the silly boy's portion was to clean up the playground after school for the next two weeks.
potion (POH shuhn) (noun)
A drink or a mixture of liquids: Dr. Benjamin mixed a potion for her patient to drink which she said would help her cough.

Bruces's stepmother gave him a portion of a secret potion which she had made for the occasion.

pound, pound
pound (POUND) (verb)
To strike repeatedly with force: Because Sam didn't have a hammer, he used a rock to pound the nail into the board.
pound (POUND) (noun)
1. A British unit of money: The cashier gave Manfred a pound as change for his souvenir purchase which he made at the end of his trip to England.
2. An enclosure for stray, lost, or unwanted animals: Lewis went to the pound to find a new kitten for his niece.
3. A unit for measuring weight, consisting of 16 ounces avoirdupois and 12 ounces troy weight: Adam asked the clerk in the store what the cost of a pound of potatoes would be.

Peter wants to purchase a large amount of British money. Wouldn't that be like buying a pound of pounds? Then he wants to go to the local pound with his hammer, because he needs to pound in a few nails to repair the fence before the pound falls apart.

practicable, practical, pragmatic
practicable (PRAK ti kuh buhl) (adjective)
Feasible, possible: In theory, it is practicable for Steve to run the marathon today but in reality, he needs more practice.
practical (PRAK ti kuhl) (adjective)
1. Regarding someone being actively engaged in an action or occupation: Rose worked as a practical nurse at the hospital.
2. Useful; functional; not theoretical: Ingrid had a practical knowledge of auto mechanics which she obtained by working in the garage.
pragmatic (prag MAT ik) (adjective)
1. Concerning thoughts or an approach on issues or problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way, instead of simply depending on ideas and theories: The teacher's pragmatic view of education came from years of working in public schools.
2. Relating to issues or matters of fact, often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic elements: Susana's approach to the curriculum at school was strictly pragmatic, dealing with the basic subjects of math, science, etc.

Mildred's friend was a nurse who took a pragmatic approach to her work. She often said that it was practicable for her to take further training, but she liked her position working as a practical nurse and planned to retire in a couple of years.

practice, practise
practice (PRAK tis); practise (primarily British) (verb)
1. To do or to perform habitually or customarily; to make a habit of: Everyone should practice courtesy when being with other people.
2. To work at, especially as a profession: Helena wants to practice law after she graduates from university.

Fred wants to practise his skills as a computer technician so he can make his living in this vocation in England.

practice (PRAK tis) (noun)
The act of doing or performing something repeatedly in order to acquire or to polish a skill: It takes a lot of practice for a tennis player to become successful as a professional.

It has been Jillian's morning practice always to do practice sit-ups. She used to be able to do 10, now she can do 20; and when she goes to England, she can practise the same exercise routine.

praise, praise, prays, preys
praise (PRAYZ) (noun)
1. Favorable judgment or comment: The critic gave high praise for the new portrait in the art gallery.
2. An expression of approval or admiration: The praise Karen received motivated her to do even more to help people.
praise (PRAYZ) (verb)
To glorify or to worship: The hymn was sung to praise the new church building that the congregation felt God had provided.
prays (PRAYZ) (verb)
1. Used in the third person singular, to make a request in a humble manner: The minister prays before and after each religious ceremony.
2. Used in the third person singular, to implore: The student standing before the school official certainly prays that she is not in trouble.
preys (PRAYZ) (verb)
1. Used in the third person singular, to engage in the act of hunting or killing for food: The wolf preys on smaller animals in order to survive.
2. Used in the third person singular, to raid, to seize, or to commit robbery: The street ruffian often preys on children going to school by stealing their lunch money.

Should a person who preys on other people for money receive praise just because he prays?

pray, prey, prey
pray (PRAY) (adverb)
Used as a preface for polite entreaties or instructions: Jack said, "Pray shut the door on your way out."
pray (PRAY) (verb)
To address a religious figure; such as, God or a deity, in a manner of supplication, adoration, etc.: The minister requested that the congregation pray to God with him after the hymn was concluded.
prey (PRAY) (noun)
1. Victim, someone or something that is helpless: People who are alone and live in isolation are often the prey of unscrupulous con-artists.
2. An animal which is taken by a predator as food: The wild owl hunted its prey in the evening when it was almost dark.
prey (PRAY) (verb)
To seize, to eat, or to commit violence: The lions will prey on their kill for a few days until it is devoured.

The roving bandits were known to prey on the isolated farms in the area.

Pray do not feel sorry for her as if she were the prey of an evil force because her friends will pray that it will not prey on her anymore.

precede, proceed, proceeds
precede (pri SEED) (verb)
1. To go before, to be in front of: The marching band will precede the marshal's car in the parade.
2. To exceed in rank or degree of importance from someone else: The position of cabinet minister will precede that of deputy cabinet minister in the hierarchy of the government.
3. To occur earlier than something else: The rally in the stadium will precede the actual start of the game.
proceed (proh SEED, pruh SEED) (verb)
1. To issue or to come forth from a source in a regulated manner: The student march will proceed from the library to the administration buildings.
2. To continue after interruption: After extensive applause, the speaker was able to proceed with his lecture and illustrated talk.
3. To move along in a designated course; to go ahead, to advance, or to go forward: The parade will proceed along the streets which will be decorated with colorful bunting.
proceeds (PROH seedz") (noun)
The total amount of money or profit that is made via an activity: The proceeds from the Jumble Sale exceeded all expectations.

The proceeds of the concert will go to charity.

George took the proceeds from the sale of his business and invested them in stocks.

Before we proceed, Paul thinks they need to decide what to do with the proceeds of the land sale; so, he wants to know if they can precede the final decision with an estimate of the final amount that will be coming.

precedence, precedents
precedence (PRES i duhns, pri SEED n's) (noun)
A position of superior honor in a formal occasion or ceremonial event; a priority: The president of the university was given precedence in terms of where he sat during the banquet.
precedents (PRES i duhns) (noun)
1. The instances and standards that have been set as authorities and may serve as examples to justify later proceedings: The judge noted there were several precedents in the law books for her ruling at the end of the trial.
2. Activities that are well established and based on practice over time: Morning coffee and afternoon tea are two precedents which are traditions in Ryan's office.

The precedents at their college dictate that the seating of visiting scholars in the dining hall takes precedence over the part time instructors.

precedent, president
precedent (PRES i duhnt) (noun)
1. The occurrence of something that sets an example for others: He set a precedent for his employees by coming to work an hour early every day.
2. A custom or an activity that has become established over time: Having a meal break at midday seemed to be the precedent at Jack's new job.
president (PREZ i duhnt, PREZ i dent") (noun)
1. An individual who has been chosen to serve as the chief of state in a government: She was the first female president elected to the office in 75 years.
2. A person who is the chief official or officer in a business or corporation: The Board of Directors at the company elected Linda's uncle as President of the Board for a two-year term.
3. Somebody who is chosen to lead or officiate over a meeting: The president of the parents' organization called the assemblage to order.

The president of the company set a new precedent by inviting all of the employees for refreshments in her office on her first day on the job.

precipice, precipitate, precipitate, precipitous
precipice (PRES uh pis) (noun)
1. An overhanging or extremely steep mass of rock; such as, a crag or the face of a cliff: He stood on the edge of the precipice as he looked down at the villages.
2. A point where danger, trouble, or difficulty begins: The company is on the edge of a hazardous financial precipice.
precipitate (pri SIP i tayt") (verb)
1. To bring about before expected or needed; to hasten the occurrence of: Andrew must not have been aware that he was about to precipitate a quarrel about the meaning of the word.
2. To send someone or something suddenly and rapidly into a particular state or condition: The sudden death of Lenora's mother could only precipitate a severe family crisis.
precipitate (pri SIP i tit") (adjective)
Hasty, rash, without due deliberation: The precipitate and impulsive act was a cause for much regret.
precipitous (pri SIP i tuhs) (adjective)
1. Very steep and perpendicular: It was a precipitous slope and very dangerous for climbers.
2. Referring to an incident which happens in a very quick and sudden way: There has been a precipitous decline in home sales recently.

People were shocked by the mayor's precipitous fall from political power.

The bank president's precipitous decision will probably precipitate a jumping off of the precipice (figuratively speaking) by the manager unless his decision is carefully reviewed.

predicate, predicate, predict, predictive
predicate (PRED i kayt") (verb)
To suggest, to state, or to declare that something is true, or justified: The preacher's sermon made efforts to predicate that people who follow the teachings of Christ are true Christians.

Douglas tends to predicate his theories on faulty assumptions.

predicate (PRED i kit") (noun)
The part of a sentence that expresses what is said about the subject: In the sentence, "Jane loves to read books", the subject is "Jane" and the predicate is "loves to read books".

Sentences normally have two basic parts, a "subject" and a "predicate".

The simple subject is the principal noun or pronoun that tells what a sentence is about; while the simple predicate is the verb or verb phrase that tells something about the subject; for example, "Penguins dive deep into the water."

In most sentences, the meaning of the simple subject and the simple predicate is expanded or modified by the addition of other words and phrases. The complete subject consists of the simple subject and all of the words that modify it, while the complete predicate consists of the simple predicate and all the words that modify or complete it; for example: "The penguins of Antarctica dive hundreds of feet into the ocean."

A compound predicate has two or more verbs or verb phrases that are joined by a conjunction and have the same subject or subjects: "Diane and Jim will wash the dishes, mop the floor, and cook dinner."

predict (pri DIKT) (verb)
To foretell a future event based on reason or experience: The meteorologist's job is to predict the weather to the best of his ability using weather maps, etc.
predictive (pri DIK tiv) (adjective)
Characteristic of something that foretells a situation: High blood pressure could be predictive of future heart problems.

The speech that the educational critic for the newspaper made seemed predictive of the future of grammar and creative writing in the schools.

Lucinda attempted to predict that children will no longer know what a predicate is and she tried to predicate her theories on the recent test scores from the schools.

premier; première, premiere
premier (pri MIR, pree MIR) (adjective)
Concerning something which precedes in position, rank, status, or time: The premier importance of Mr. Jones to the political party was confirmed after an election among his peers.

The new film was given the premier placement on the schedule at the film festival.

première (pri MIR, pri MEER) (noun)
The first exhibition or performance of something: The artist worked hard to organize her paintings for the première which was scheduled in December.
premiere (pri MIR, pri MEER) (noun)
The first appearance of an actor, or actress, in a lead role: Saturday was the premiere for Jill's aunt who was staring in a new play written especially for her.

Yesterday was the première performance of Marissa's play as well as the premiere for the main actress. Her friend is considered premier among the local playwrights.

premise, surmise
premise (PREM is) (noun)
1. That which is set forth ahead of time as an introduction to a discussion, etc.: The premise of the suffragette movement was that women were entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as men.
2. Property upon which a building may be placed; a building: With the windfall from the lottery, Francisca decided to purchase a premise upon which to erect a school.
3. Something that is taken for granted or assumed: It was the premise of the city hall that there would be no opposition to higher taxes the following year.
surmise (suhr MIGHZ) (verb)
To imagine or infer something based on thin or flimsy evidence: Greg stated, "Do not surmise that Walter can swim just because he likes to exercise in the swimming pool."

There is a premise down the street that is to be developed as a park, including a swimming pool. Dennis tends to surmise that there are plans for life guards, too.

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