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

(lists of "G" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)

A great example of confusing words

Once upon a time in the unknown past, at a dinner party in Texas, a man from South America was telling about his country and himself, concluding with "And I have a sympathetic wife but unfortunately, no children. My wife, she is unbearable."

Those who were listening greeted his statement with puzzled glances, so he tried to explain: "My wife, she is inconceivable." Noticing from the bewildered looks of the guests that this didn't clarify the matter, he finally explained with a triumphant smile: "I mean, my wife, she is impregnable."

—Compiled from Humorous English by Evan Esar;
Horizon Press; New York; 1961, page 164.

Never use big words where a diminutive one will suffice.


If you have any problems understanding the pronunciation symbols, go to this Pronunciation Chart for clarifications.

gaff, gaff, gaffe
gaff (GAF) (noun)
A metal hook or spear used by fishermen or butchers to lift and maneuver heavy objects: The angler used his gaff to lift the fish from the net into the hold of the boat.
gaff (GAF) (verb)
To fix or to set up for cheating: The gambler was known to try to gaff in order to deceive when playing cards.
gaffe (GAF) (noun)
Social awkwardness or a diplomatic blunder: Aileen was deeply embarrassed by her spoken gaffe at the garden party.

When Jerome was introduced to Sally, he realized that he had committed an embarrassing gaffe when he didn't pronounce her name correctly.

It would be an unprecedented social gaffe if Emmett were to try to gaff when playing cards; in fact, his opponent might think of using a metal gaff to stop him.

gag, gag, gag, gag, gaga
gag (GAG) (noun)
Something that is put into or over a person's mouth in order to keep him or her from speaking or calling out: The hostage had a gag put over her mouth so she couldn't yell for help.
gag (GAG) (verb)
To censor or to prevent anyone from speaking freely or expressing an opinion: The government was trying to gag the press from revealing any more political corruptions.
gag (GAG) (verb)
To cause to choke, to retch, or to undergo a regurgitative spasm: The odor in the house made her gag or gasp for fresh air.

The sausage apparently got stuck in Art's throat and he could only gag on it until it came out.

gag (GAG) (noun)
Something said or done to make people laugh: The comedian had people laughing as he told one gag after the other.
gaga (GAH GAH) (adjective)
1. Completely enthusiastic, excited, or infatuated about or in something or someone: Rhoda's son is gaga about the new neighbor's daughter.

Why are so many people so gaga about that movie?

2. Crazy, silly, or foolish: It has been said, that a lot of people were gaga about President Obama; especially, right after his election.

"Polaroid Goes Gaga in that Lady Gaga will be in charge of directing Polaroid creatively, and she will also be in charge of working with them on a co-branded line, a Polaroid-branded sub-brand with a Lady Gaga twist to it."

—As seen in,
"Polaroid Talks about Lady Gaga's Role with the Company" by Chris Crum;
dated, January 30, 2010.

At first, some people were gaga about the gag the comedian told in the restaurant, but it apparently caused others to gag on their food and there were those who were wishing that someone would put a gag on his "sick" humor.

gage, gage, gauge
gage (GAYJ) (noun)
1. Something that is given or left as security until a debt is paid or an obligation is fulfilled: Billy signed a gage stating that he would repay the loan.
2. A glove or other object that is thrown down or offered as a challenge to fight: The knight hurled his scarf down at the feet of the other warrior as a gage to confront him in a duel.
gage (GAYJ) (verb)
To offer something as security against a debt or other obligation: Laura promised to gage her necklace in order to reimburse the expenses of the trip.
gauge and/or gage (GAYJ) (noun)
1. A measuring instrument for determining and indicating a quantity; such as, the thickness of wire or the amount of rain etc.; estimate, judge, appraise, ascertain: The teacher asked, "James, do you have the proper gauge to measure the distance to the top of that hill?"
2. Measuring instrument, measuring device, standard, criterion: This gauge registers the pressure in pounds.
3. Size, measurement, internal diameter, inner measurement, inner dimension: What gauge is that cannon?

In the sense of "measurement", gauge is the preferable spelling. With the meaning of "a pledge", gage is the correct and preferred form.

In order to gauge his sincerity, she asked him to leave a gage in her safekeeping. This was the equivalent of the gage often referred to in romantic medieval ballads either when the princess could gauge the affections of the knight by the gage he left her or when a knight would throw his glove or gage to the ground to challenge an opponent.

gain, gainly
gain (GAYN) (verb)
1. To come into possession or use of something; to acquire: Andrew strived to gain a small fortune in real estate just before the financial bubble burst.
2. To attain in competition or struggle; to win: Carl's team tried to gain a decisive victory over the opposing athletic team.
3. To obtain through effort or merit; to achieve: Shelby wanted to gain recognition with her volunteer work as an educational tutor.
gainly (GAYN'li) (adjective)
Graceful, pleasing, shapely: Justin was described as a gainly youth with dark hair and blue eyes.

As a gainly guy, Joseph tried to gain Karin's attention through his efforts to gain the last goal at the game.

In fact, he tried to gain an outstanding recognition from his coach and team members for his efforts, too.

gait, gate
gait (GAYT) (noun)
The manner or mode of movement of a person or an animal; such as, a horse: Sharon watched the gait of her mare carefully.
gate (GAYT) (noun)
An entrance, exit, or passageway: The gate opened automatically when the car came close.

The old dog’s limping gait nearly prevented him from making it into the yard before the automatic gate closed.

—Callie Cardamon

Because the gate was open, Jerry watched in horror as his pony, with an easy gait, went off down the road.

gall, Gaul
gall (GAWL) (noun)
1. A characteristic of boldness or impudence: Keith had the gall to talk back to his grandmother when she pointed out his mistake.
2. Something that tastes bitter: The medicine James had to take reminded him of gall, being very tart and acidulous.
3. A sore or irritation which has been caused by chafing: The gall on the horse was due to the saddle not fitting properly and rubbing constantly.
4. An enlargement of plant tissue due to fungus or parasites: The botanist observed a large gall on the tree and looked carefully for the insects which would cause it.
Gaul (GAWL) (noun)
A geographical reference to parts of Europe including present day Northern Italy, France, Belgium, parts of Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany; often in connection with the Roman Empire: Tacitus wrote of the conquest of Gaul at the time of the Romans.

The Romans who invaded Gaul were clever, full of gall and had good leadership. Whenever the soldiers felt weak or intimidated or had a gall from their armor, the doctors boiled some gall and told them BE BRAVE or drink this gall.

galleon, gallon, galloon
galleon (GAL ee uhn, GAL yuhn) (noun)
A large three-masted sailing ship with a square rig and usually two or more decks, used from the 15th to the 17th century especially by Spain as a merchant ship or warship: Several Spanish sailors were hired to sail on the new galleon.

The galleon sailed into the harbor after a long voyage.

gallon (GAL uhn) (noun)
A unit of volume in the U.S. Customary System, used in liquid measure, equal to 4 quarts (3.785 liters): Deloris bought a gallon of fresh milk to take home from the local store.
galloon (guh LOON) (noun)
A narrow band of embroidery, lace, braid, or silver or gold thread, used as a trimming on clothes or upholstery: Whenever the sisters next door go out, they have a custom of wearing clothes with edgings of galloon on their dresses, coats, shoes, and hats; all of which attract a great deal of attention because of their very colorful clothing styles.

The captain of the galleon, with his uniform festooned with a galloon of bright silver, ordered a gallon of rum to be distributed to the crew.

galley, gallery
galley (GAWL ee) (noun)
1. The kitchen and equipment on a ship, airplane, or train: The galley on the ocean liner was well furnished for the chef who loved to cook.
2. In printing and publishing, a single column of type set or the initial print or proof made from the column of type set: The editor checked the galley for spelling and factual errors.
gallery (GAWL uh ree) (noun)
1. A room or building for the purpose of exhibiting works of art: The gallery just off the main street was renowned for its fine presentations of paintings.
2. A platform or construction in an auditorium which provides seating for an audience, often with inexpensive seats: The students always bought their tickets so they could sit in the gallery of the auditorium when they went to concerts.

When Trisha and Nikki visited the Maritime Museum, they sat in the gallery above the model of a galley and watched the staff from the museum demonstrate how printing used to be done.

gambit, gamut
gambit (GAM bit) (noun)
1. A maneuver or action intended to gain an advantage: The winning chess player executed a clever gambit against his opponent.
2. A stratagem, or ploy, especially one used at an initial stage: The football coach outlined a new gambit to the players before the game started.
3. A remark intended to open a conversation: As his opening gambit, Phillip asked his new friend about the weather.
gamut (GAM uht) (noun)
The entire range or extent, as of emotions: Aurora's face expressed a gamut of emotions, from tense anger to relaxed satisfaction.

The chess player’s expressions ran the gamut from fear to exhilaration as he pondered his gambit.

—Callie Cardamon

In response to the producer’s opening gambit, the face of the actor registered a gamut of emotions from fear to hatred.

The movie critic described the actor's dramatic skills as running the gamut of emotions from "A" to "B".

gamble, gamble, gambol, gambol
gamble (GAM buhl) (noun)
1. An action of uncertain outcome, as of a contest or the participation in a game of chance: They were always trying one form of gamble after another; for example, playing poker or roulette which involved risking money, or they even bet on horse races, in the hope of winning money.
2. A risky action that may gain an advantage or a benefit if successful: Patrick took a gamble that stock prices would rise.
gamble (GAM buhl) (verb)
To engage in reckless or hazardous behavior: Robert was warned that to gamble with his health by continuing to smoke was a risky way to live.
gambol (GAM buhl, GAM bohl) (verb)
1. To leap about playfully; to frolic: The lambs liked to gambol in the field every morning.
2. To skip about, as in dancing or playing: The little children loved to gambol in the play room.
gambol (GAM buhl, GAM bohl) (noun)
Happy or light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement: The young dog went for a gambol every evening with its owner who used a leather leash attached to the dog's neck.

The teachers took a gamble when they planned the end of school gambol for the students to be outside in the park.

gambling, gamboling (U.S.); gambolling (British)
gambling (GAM bling) (noun)
Participation in a game that involves betting money or other valuable items: Fortunately, Nancy's gambling was infrequent and did not involve much money.
gamboling (GAM buhl ing) (verb)
To playing in a lively manner. In the pastoral setting, it was entertaining to watch the lambs gamboling on the hillside.

Cara and James were gambolling on the playground, pretending that they were at the casino and were gambling. The high stakes were their lunches that they brought from home.

gantlet, gauntlet
gantlet (GAWNT lit, GAHNT lit) (noun)
Railroad terminology, an extent of railroad track that is characterized by the track of one section lying within the track of a second section, to highlight a switching area: The train operator was alert to the gantlet on the railway so the change from one course to the other could take place safely.
gauntlet (GAWNT lit, GAHNT lit) (noun)
1. A heavy or protective glove used on industrial sites: The steelworkers used a heat-resistant gauntlet on each hand while they were working.
2. An ordeal, either literally or figuratively in which an individual is required to dash between foes who attempt to harm that person: The criticism of the proposal was so severe, the new senator felt as if she had run the gauntlet and had been battered about.

During the severe rain storm, the railroad switchman wore a gauntlet on each hand to protect his hands while he was switching the gantlet to prevent any disasters.

gaol, jail
gaol (JAYL) (noun)
Primarily British for "jail", a building or location for confining individuals accused of unlawful behavior: In the exciting British spy novels, the villain always goes to gaol in the end.
jail (JAYL) (noun)
A place where people are kept when they have been arrested and detained (held in custody) until they are convicted of a crime: Roger was being held in jail until his trial and then he would either go to prison, if convicted, or he would be released, if he was not found guilty of the criminal charge.

The actors were putting on a Shakespeare play in the old jail building which had been converted to a community theater. In the play, the stage directions said "... and he was placed in gaol"; which was easy because we had not removed the old jail cells.

gap, gape
gap (GAP) (noun)
1. A break, separation, or space in the continuity of a structure: The horses escaped through the gap in the fence.
2. A wide disparity or difference in attitudes or opinions: The generation gap is the subject of many books and articles.
gape (GAYP, GAP) (verb)
To look at something with a look of incredulity or wonder: Lenora and Ronda could only gape in amazement at the performers at the circus.

Through the gap in the stage curtain, Willian could gape unnoticed at the audience. He noticed a significant gap between the afternoon, the matinee, and the evening audiences.

gargle, gargoyle
gargle (GAHR guhl) (verb)
To rinse or to wash the throat with a liquid: Trisha always remembered to gargle with salt water when her throat was sore.
gargoyle (GAHR goil") (noun)
A water spout, usually in the form of a grotesquely formed animal projecting from the roof gutter of a building: Just about every gargoyle on the top of the cathedral in Paris has been seen by numerous visitors over many years.

I can hear the rain gargle noisily through the gargoyle on the edge of the roof.

—Callie Cardamon

Rebeca laughs every time she goes into the bathroom to gargle because the water spout in the sink is designed to look like a gargoyle.

Pointing to explanation of homonyms, homophones, and homographs, etc. Confusing Words: Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs; explained and demonstrated.

Pointing back to Confusing Words Quizzes, Part AConfusing Words: Units, Groups A to Z.