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.

prodigal, prodigal, profligate
prodigal (PRAHD i guhl) (adjective)
Characterized by extravagant, wasteful, lavish deportment: Ryan's prodigal behavior about the food left from the banquet upset many people.
prodigal (PRAHD i guhl) (noun)
An individual who spends foolishly or excessively: Despite winning the lottery, Terry was a prodigal and was soon poor again.
profligate (PRAHF li git, PRAHF li gayt") (noun)
A person who always acts in a dissipated or wildly luxuriant manner: The king's son was a profligate and not liked by others in the court who feared he would bankrupt the treasury.

The ruler of the ancient kingdom, a true profligate had prodigal habits and wasted the valuable resources of the realm.

prodigy, progeny
prodigy, (PRAHD uh jee) (noun)
1. An individual who is considered to be very talented, often in reference to a child: Mozart was considered to be a child prodigy.
2. Something that is an extraordinary or unusual accomplishment or event: The completion of the massive symphony was nothing short of being a prodigy.
progeny, (PRAHJ uh nee) (noun)
Offspring, children, followers or successors: The list of Aurora's grandparents' progeny is extensive and includes her.

It is not always true that the progeny of a famous prodigy are all as equally talented.

produce, produce
produce (proh DOOS) (verb)
1. To make something; especially by using machines: The company will produce thousands of cars.
2. To show something or to cause something to appear or to be seen: Frank had to produce his ID for the security guard before he was allowed entrance into the building.
produce (PROH doos) (noun)
That which is produced by agricultural efforts; such as, fruits and vegetables: Christine will be going to buy produce at the market tomorrow.

Paul's farm helped to produce needed produce for people to buy at the local farmer's market.

profile, profile, profiling
profile (PROH fighl") (noun)
1. The shape of a head or face that is seen or drawn from the side: The woman's profile is very unusual.
2. A brief written description that provides information about something or someone: The article provided a profile of the shooter's background and attitudes regarding the family that he killed.
3. The amount of attention that someone or something is given or desires: Lenora tries to maintain a low profile around the university while her friend, Rena, does everything she can to get a high profile.

Deloris tries to keep a low profile so people won't notice her.

profile (PROH fighl") (verb)
1. To give a brief description that provides information about someone or something: The newspaper wants to profile the organization that is donating so much time to helping the poor people in their community.
2. To provide information about potential terrorists or other criminals: The security organizations’ efforts to profile the man who tried to blow up the passenger aircraft were not very efficientt.
profiling (PROH fighl" ing) (noun)
1. Recording a person's behavior and analyzing psychological characteristics in order to predict or to assess his or her ability in a certain sphere or to identify a particular group of people: The store wanted to do some consumer profiling so its management could determine the best procedures for increasing a profitable year.
2. The act or practice of regarding particular people as more likely to commit crimes because of their appearance, race, etc.: Some people accuse certain law enforcement officials of using racial profiling which disproportionately targets people of color for investigation and enforcement.

Criminal profiling is used mostly by behavioral scientists and the police to narrow down an investigation to those suspects who possess certain behavioral and personality features that are revealed by the way a crime was committed.

Justin saw an article that stated that profiling serial killers is supposed to be an art, but it's not. It's certainly not a science. The entire profiling system; such as, those profiles produced by the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI, is based on interviews with an insufficient number of criminal subjects.

These days, to profile people for potential criminal acts is an important factor in protecting the people. A profile must be sufficiently composed so profiles and profiling can be properly utilized.

profit, profit, prophet
profit (PRAHF it) (verb)
To gain a benefit by doing something: David is convinced that he will profit by going to summer school this year.
profit (PRAHF it) (noun)
1. Income typically earned over a specific period of time: The profit on her investment this year was significant and she was pleased.
2. Money obtained by selling something for more than the cost of production or manufacture: The company made a significant profit by deciding to buy the raw materials from local farmers rather than to import what they needed.
prophet (PRAHF it) (noun)
1. A person who can foretell future events or happenings: The farmer was viewed as a prophet when he warned his neighbors about the upcoming hailstorm.
2. An individual who is credited with writing Holy Scripture; for example, the Old Testament in the Christian Bible: The Prophet was revered for his knowledge, understanding, and explanations of God's messages to mankind.
3. A spokesperson or leader for a group or a cause: Karin's uncle was considered a prophet among climate change advocates.

Many a prophet has been known to profit from his prognosticator's successful renditions.

The best prophet of the future is the past.

—E. C. McKenzie

A prophet is a man who is not honored in his own country, because people grow tired of hearing him say, "I told you so."

—Evan Esar
program, program, pogrom
program (PROH grahm"; PROH gruhm) (noun)
1. A listing of the order of events and other pertinent information for a public presentation; schedule, order of events, things to be done, agenda, plan; timetable; prospectus: Today's program includes a tour of San Francisco.
2. List of players, list of selections: The ushers gave everyone a program for the evening's performance.
3. Show, presentation, production; series: Ronda Scott indicated that there would be a change in the program for the fall television schedule.
program (PROH grahm"; PROH gruhm) (verb)
To schedule, arrange, book, slate: Someone will program Tracie to appear on the show the following week.
pogrom (puh GRAHM; POH gruhm) (noun)
A planned campaign of persecution or extermination sanctioned by a government and directed against a special ethnic group: With the success of the Bolshevik Revolution, pogroms ceased in the Soviet Union; they were revived in Germany and Poland after Adolf Hitler gained power.

The word pogrom is a Russian term, originally meaning "riot", which came to be applied to a series of violent attacks on Jews in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The local theater has scheduled a creative and challenging program this year including a play about a pogrom in Poland that took place in the last century.

prop, prop
prop (PRAHP) (verb)
To support something by placing an object against something else or by placing something under it to keep it from falling or shaking: Andrew was asked to prop the window open to let in some fresh air.

Tom asked, "Adriana, would you prop the garage door open so it won't slam shut, please."

prop (PRAHP) (noun)
1. Someone or something that gives help or support to another person or something else: Myrna used her inheritance money as a prop to finance her business.
2. Something which is used to support an object: Tom's father used rocks as a prop for the fence post until he could fill the hole with dirt.
3. A piece of theatrical property that is used by a performer or actor to create a desired effect in a scene on stage or in a movie: The actor used one prop after another to create the effects desired by the director.
4. A slang term for an airplane's propeller: The prop had to be replaced before the pilot could fly his aircraft.

Although the actor tried to prop up the stage prop which represented an airplane prop, he could not keep it from falling over; so, he signaled another actor to be a prop for the stage property.

prophecy, prophesy
prophecy (PRAHF i see) (noun)
The work of an individual who seems to be inspired with a spiritual will or purpose: The prophecy of the local saint was recorded in the church annals.
prophesy (PRAHF i see) (verb)
1. To speak as if inspired by a divine thought: Gerald stood on the street corner to prophesy about the dangers of dance halls and beer consumption.
2. To predict something apparently on the basis of mystical knowledge: Standing before a crowd, Celeste stated, "I prophesy that there will be a severe rainstorm and flood within the next two days despite the fact that we are experiencing the worst drought in years."

The local prophet made a prophesy that was so true that an article in the newspaper praised the prophecy as a miracle.

propose, purpose
propose (pruh POHZ) (verb)
1. To make a request or suggestion for marriage: Richard's friend was determined to propose marriage to the girl he loved.
2. To suggest or to bring forward a plan to accomplish something: The city engineer was determined to propose the building of a new bridge.
3. To bring an idea to an individual or a group for discussion: Walt decided to propose that the group take a break and meet again the next day and to see if they can come to an agreement.
4. To nominate: The committee of peers will propose the name of the professor to be granted the fellowship to study polar bears.
5. To toast or to acknowledge in a speech: The master of ceremonies rose to propose a toast to the retiring member of the board.
purpose (PUR puhs) (noun)
1. A meaningful aim or goal: Henry's purpose in going to a university was to become a lawyer.
2. A subject for discussion or for accomplishment: The purpose of the meeting at the city hall was to discuss raising property taxes.
3. Determination: Albert walked with a purpose while he was returning to the meeting.

The purpose of this meeting is to propose a merger of the two branches of this industry as a cost-saving measure.

pros, prose
pros (PROHZ) (noun)
1. Professionals in an area of endeavour: The three retired golf pros got together every year to play another game.
2. An indication that an affirmation for something has been accomplished: After the vote, the chair of the meeting indicated that the pros had won.
3. An argument in favor of something: The jury had to weigh the pros and cons of the case while deciding on a recommendation to the court.
prose (PROHZ) (noun)
1. Ordinary language used by people everyday including both spoken and written expressions: Lucy spoke in clear prose so her neighbors could understand her explanations.
2. Written in a simple and unimaginative manner: When writing her autobiography, the famous singer used simple prose to convey the reality of her life.

The members of the literary jury had to weigh the pros and cons of each article of prose that was submitted to the contest.

prosperity, posterity
prosperity (prah SPER i tee) (noun)
Success and economic well-being: The town enjoyed a new prosperity when the factory had been built and the young people were being employed.
posterity (pah STER i tee) (noun)
Including all the descendants of a lineage or family: Jeffrey lived frugally so that his posterity could enjoy an easier lifestyle.

The Captain of Industry worked hard to bring prosperity to the town. Anthony's goal was that his posterity, including his sons and daughters, would be able to continue the careful planning and investments which he had initiated.

prostate, prostrate
prostate (PRAHS tayt") (noun)
An organ or gland within the male mammal reproductive system that is located just below the bladder and which produces the liquid in which sperm is carried: At the time of his annual check-up, the doctor checked Justin's prostate for cancer and informed him that he had an enlarged gland but that he did not have cancer.
prostrate (PRAHS trayt") (adjective)
1. Lying flat without the energy or power to get up: After the long hike in the heat, the hikers lay prostrate in the shade, resting and sipping water.
2. Demonstrating a helplessness or submissive posture: The condemned prisoner assumed a prostrate position, hoping for clemency from the judge.

A physician once said that it is preferred that a man be prostrate before the urologist can examine his prostate.

prosthesis, prostration
prosthesis (prahs THEE sis) (noun)
An artificial device that is used as a substitute for a body part; such as, an arm: The occupational therapist helped her client learn to walk with the new prosthesis which Janet needed after losing her left leg in a boating accident.
prostration (prah STRAY shuhn) (noun)
The result of someone becoming weak or powerless: The campers suffered from heat prostration and exhaustion.

The patient found it difficult to adjust to the new prosthesis; in fact, Willie sat down in a state of prostration at the end of his first therapy session.

prosthetic, prostatic
prosthetic (prahs THET ik) (adjective)
A reference to the branch of surgery dealing with the restoration of missing body parts, such as a hand, an arm, etc.: The soldier was fitted with a prosthetic leg to replace the one he lost as a result of the roadside explosion.

A prosthetic substitute for lost sections of the body resulting from disease or injury, particularly for the purpose of restoring the function of that part of the body; for example, a bridge of false teeth is a dental prothesis.

prostatic (prahs TAHT ik) (adjective)
A reference to the male gland of mammals that produces the liquid in which sperm is carried: Many men suffer prostatic problems; such as, prostatic calculus, prostatic plexus, prostatic cancer, prostatic urethra, etc.

After Ted recovered from his prostatic cancer, his brother returned to the medical school to study prosthetic surgery because he was inspired by the injuries which his brother had received in the recent Afghanistan conflicts.

protean, protein
protean (PROH tee uhn, proh TEE uhn) (adjective)
1. Exhibiting great diversity: The population in the city could be described as protean, as reflected in the more than 150 different languages that were spoken in the schools in the city.
2. Readily able to assume different characters or forms: The protean nature of the friendly ghost in the house was baffling, sometimes appearing like a puppy and other times like a wisp of smoke.
protein (PROH teen", PROH tee in) (noun)
Any of a number of naturally occurring or synthetic complex amino acids essential for all living cells: Harry eats eggs and cheese instead of meat to get his protein for the day.

The food guide issued by the health department included a list of protean ways to get protein in people's diets without necessarily eating lots of meat.

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