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.

wary, weary
wary (WAIR ee) (adjective)
Not having or showing complete trust in someone or something that could be dangerous or which could cause trouble: "People should be wary of putting their money into questionable stocks."
weary (WIR ee) (adjective)
1. Lacking, strength, energy, or freshness because of a need for rest or sleep; being very tired: "The garbage collectors were weary after working their shift."
2. Bored or annoyed by something because someone has seen it, heard it, done it, etc., many times or for a long time: "Norma was weary from months of washing dishes in the restaurant kitchen."

Kim is wary of the vote that might take place at the meeting tonight. The committee members seem to be weary of the endless negotiations so they might vote to go on strike.

wax, wax, whacks
wax (WAKS) (verb)
1. To put a thin layer of a protective, waterproof substance on a surface: "Ryan wants to wax his car at least once every month."
2. To increase in amount, size, etc.: "Interest in the story seems to wax and wane depending on the news that comes afterward."
3. To talk or write about something in a way that shows that a person is experiencing a specified mood or feeling: "Jerry likes to wax lyrical about a new product being developed which he calls Formula One concrete."
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: "After Joshua washes his car, he can use car wax to protect it and make it shine!"
whacks (HWAKS, WAKS) (verb)
1. To strike (someone or something) with sharp resounding blows or with great force: "Shawn whacks through the jungle growth with his machete everyday."
2. An act of hitting someone or something with great force: "Dale whacks the ball around whenever he has a chance."

The sports reporter seemed to wax enthusiastically about the baseball player who was famous for the powerful whacks he could take at the ball during games.

way, weigh, whey
way (WAY) (noun)
1. How someone or something does something, or behaves, appears, feels, etc.: "The editor told the reporter that this is the way you should write it."
2. The series of roads, paths, etc., that can be used to go from one place to another: "What is the shortest way to the grocery store?"
weigh (WAY) (verb)
To find how heavy someone or something is by measuring the weight of anyone or anything: "Sylvia wants to weigh herself every week because she wants to see if she is losing or gaining weight."
whey (HWAY, WAY) (noun)
The watery part of milk that forms after the milk becomes thick and sour: "During the process of making cheese the curd must be separated from the whey."

Lois asked the clerk to weigh the pail of whey quickly so she can be on her way home.

ways, weighs
ways (WAYZ) (noun)
1. A distance: "Jeremy and Randy are still a long ways from their holiday resort."
2. Often used figuratively to indicate a distance or direction: "Wanda and Bonnie still have a long ways to go to complete their task; in other words, they still have a lot of work to do."
weighs (WAYZ) (verb)
To determine how heavy someone or something is or to measure the weight of someone or something: "Before selling the apples Jill weighs them to see how much they weigh."

How many ways can Tracy tell Greg that he weighs too much?

we, wee
we (WEE) (pronoun)
Used to refer to a speaker and another person or group of people: "When the waiter asked my sister and me what we would like to eat, we told him that we had already ordered our pizza."
wee (WEE) (adjective)
Very small or very young: "Peggy can hold the wee little kitten in her hand!"

In the gathering darkness, we thought we were seeing the wee folks referred to in the folk tales of this region.

weak, week
weak (WEEK) (adjective)
1. Having little physical power or ability, not strong: "After being sick and in bed for two weeks, Diana was very weak and couldn't go to work."
2. Lacking enough or the usual amount of an important ingredient: "The tea Sam made is quite weak."
week (WEEK) (noun)
1. A period of seven days: "The week in the U.S. usually starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday and in Britain, Germany, and several other countries, it usually begins on Monday and ends on Sunday."

"Renting the car by the week over a long period can cost a lot of money."

Weak is what a man is when a pretty girl is telling him how strong he is.

—Evan Esar

Andrea has been ill for a week and she still feels very weak.

weal, we’ll
weal (WEEL) (noun)
1. A state of being happy, healthy, and successful; well-being: "Jack and Jill are working on a project to improve the common weal."
2. Usually a reddish bump or bruise on the skin: "The weal on Dawn's arm seemed to be getting worse so she went to see the doctor."
we'll (WEEL) (pronoun-verb)
A contraction of we will: "Leo thinks we'll see their friends at the movies tonight."

We’ll have to put medication on the weal on your arm so it will heal properly. The condition of your emotional weal is also our concern.

wealth, wealth
wealth (WELTH) (noun)
1. A large amount of money and possessions: "Norma came from a family that had acquired great wealth in money and commercial property."
2. The value of all the property, possessions, and money that someone has: "Marvin's personal wealth is estimated to be in the billions."
wealth (WELTH) (noun)
A significant amount or number of something besides money, property, or other possessions: "All of us should be very happy about the wealth of information that the internet has to offer via our computers."

"There is a wealth of doubt that Barry can achieve his objectives."

The wealth of a community is not measured just by the individual wealth of the home owners, but it is also based on the wealth of community spirit that is manifested throughout the year.

weather, weather, whether
weather (WETH uhr) (noun)
The state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place: "Todd listened to the weather forecast this morning on the radio."
weather (WETH uhr) (verb)
To damage or change something due to exposure to natural elements: "The fence posts will weather to a gray color in a year or two."
whether (HWETH uhr, WETH uhr) (conjunction)
1. An indication if something is or was true: "Did Peggy ask them whether they would be staying home tonight?"
2. Used to indicate choices or possibilities: "It doesn't matter whether Bonnie pays for the books with Dollars or Euros in this store."
When Sally spelled weather "wethir",
The teacher said, "Ah, my dear,
That's just about the worst spell of weather
We've had around here for years."

Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while.

—Ken Hubbard

Whether you know it or not, weathermen are never wrong. It's the weather that's wrong.

—E. C. McKinzie
weave, weave, we’ve
weave (WEEV) (verb)
1. To make something; such as, cloth by crossing threads or other long pieces of material over and under each other: "Wanda loved to weave brightly colored cloth on her loom."
2. To move from side to side while going forward; especially, in order to avoid the people or things that are in front of someone: "Aaron had to carefully weave the car through the traffic at the scene of the accident."
weave (WEEV) (noun)
A style or pattern of fabric that is made on a loom: "The weavers created a unique weave using the soft cotton fibers."
we've (WEEV) (pronoun-verb)
A contraction of we have: "We've seen this movie two times already."

We've been in the outdoor museum today to watch the staff weave cloth from yarn.

weed, weed, we'd
weed (WEED) (noun)
A plant that grows very quickly where it is not wanted and covers or kills more desirable plants: "Danny missed pulling this weed in the garden earlier today."
weed (WEED) (verb)
To remove unwanted plants from an area of land; such as, a garden: "The gardener needs to weed this section of the garden."
we'd (WEED) (pronoun-verb)
Contractions of we had or we would: "We'd better get going or we'll be late even though we'd rather stay home."

"We'd love to have you stay over another night."

If there were very many wild plants growing in the yard, then we'd have to weed them out.

weld, weld, welled
weld (WELD) (verb)
1. To join pieces of metal together by heating the edges until they begin to melt and then pressing them together: "Alvin had to weld the metal parts in order to repair the car."
2. To join or bring people or things close together: "Do those folks want to weld their friendship that close together after all that has happened?"
weld (WELD) (noun)
A plant, Reseda luteola, which is used to produce a yellow dye: "The farmer grew weld in his field to sell to the weavers in the village."
welled (WELD) (verb)
1. Raised to the surface, made ready to flow: "Tears welled in Sherry's eyes at the funeral of her son."
2. Raised or surged from an inner source: "Anger welled up in Jacob when he heard about the increases of the costs he would have to pay for the completion of his house."

The generosity that spontaneously welled out of the community when faced with adversity served to weld the town folks even closer together.

welt, wilt
welt (WELT) (noun)
1. Usually a large bump or red area that appears on a person's skin because of injury or illness: "Lillian should go to the doctor because that welt looks worse today."
2. A reinforced decorative border on a garment: "The welt on the pocket was made with a contrasting color."
wilt (WILT) (verb)
1. When plants bend over because of not having enough water: "Hot weather may wilt the roses if Cindy doesn't water them."
2. To become tired often as the result of hot weather: "If Travis and Andrea don’t sit in the shade, they are going to wilt in this heat."

Emily tends to wilt in today's hot weather, and in addition, she lost her balance and fell down and got a large red welt on her knee.

wench, winch, wince, wince
wench (WENCH) (noun)
A young woman; especially, a young woman who is a servant: "This story is about a wench who worked in the king's castle."
winch (WINCH) (noun)
A machine that has a rope or chain and that is used for pulling or lifting heavy things: "The truck must have a winch in order to tow this wreck."
wince (WINS) (verb)
To have an expression on one's face for a very short time which shows that that person is embarrassed or in pain: "Just about everyone will grimace or wince in pain if he or she hits his or her elbow or funny bone by accident."
wince (WINS) (noun)
An expression of pain or embarrassment: "The painful wince on Dan's face could be seen from the last row of the balcony."

The kitchen wench had to use the winch to lift the heavy pot from the fire. The contents splashed on her arm and caused her to wince.

wet, wet, whet
wet (WET) (adjective)
1. Covered or soaked with water or another liquid; not dry: "Carol just washed her hair so it is quite wet."
2. Having a lot of rain: "It has been a cold, windy, and wet morning."
wet (WET) (verb)
To cover with liquid, to urinate: "The baby wet his diaper and so he needed to be changed."
whet (HWET, WET) (verb)
To make something; such as, a person's appetite or curiosity sharper or stronger: "Rick, did you know that you whet Paula's curiosity as you got closer to the climax of the story?"

"The butcher started to whet his knife in order to cut the fresh meat."

The hot weather will whet Edna's thirst for a cool, wet drink.

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