Difficult Words:
Belittle, Belie, Belligerent, Bemused, Benefactor, Benevolent and Benign





This is a list of Difficult Words: Belittle, Belie, Belligerent, Bemused, Benefactor, Benevolent and Benign

Belie (bi LYE) v: to give a false impression of, to contradict

• Melvin's smile belied the grief he was feeling. Despite his happy expression he was terribly sad inside.

• The messy appearance of the banquet table belied the huge effort that had gone into setting it up.

• A word that is sometimes confused with belie is betray. To rework the first example above:

• Melvin was smiling, but a small tear in one eye betrayed the grief he was feeling.

• The fact that the groom kept his fingers crossed during the wedding ceremony betrayed his true feelings about his bride. The loving look he gave his bride belied his true feelings.




Belittle (bi LIT ul) v: to make to seem little, to put someone down

• WE worked hard to put out the fire, but the fire chief belittled our efforts by saying he wished he had brought some marshmallows.

• The chairman's belittling comments made everyone feel small.



Belligerent (buh LIJ ur unt) adj: combative, quarrelsome, waging war

• A bully is belligerent. Toe be belligerent is to push other people around, to be noisy and argumentative, to threaten other people and generally to make a nuisance of oneself.

• Ali was so belligerent that the convention had the feel of a boxing match.

• Opposing armies in a war are referred to as belligerents. Sometimes one belligerent in a conflict is more belligerent than the other.




This is a list of Difficult Words: Belittle, Belie, Belligerent, Bemused, Benefactor, Benevolent and Benign

Bemused (BI myoozd) adj: confused, bewildered

• To muse is to think about or ponder things. To be bemused, then, is to have been thinking about things to the point of confusion.

• The two stood bemused in the middle of the parking lot at Disneyland, trying to remember where they had parked their car.

• Ralph was bemused when all the lights and appliances in his house began switching on add off for no apparent reason.

• People often use the word bemused when they really mean "amused" but bemusement is no laughing matter. Bemused means confused.



Benefactor (BEN uh FAK tur) n: one who provides help, especially in the form of a gift or donation

• To give benefits is to be a benefactor. To receive benefits is to be a beneficiary. People very, very often confuse these two words. It would be to their benefit to keep them straight.

• If your next-door neighbor rewrites his life insurance policy so that you will receive all his millions when he dies, then you become the beneficiary of the policy. If your neighbor then dies, he is your benefactor.

• A malefactor is a person who does bad things. Batman and Robin made life hell for Gorham City.




Benevolent (buh NEV uhnlunt) adj: generous, kind, doing good deeds

• Giving money to the poor is a benevolent act. To be benevolent is to bestow benefits. The United way, like any Charity, is a benevolent organization.



Benign (bi NYNE) adj: gentle, not harmful, kind, mild

• Betty has benign personality. She is not at all unpleasant to be with.

• The threat of revolution turned out to be benign. Nothing much came of it.

• Charlie was worried that he had cancer, but the lump on his leg turned out to be benign.

• The difference between a benign Person and a Benevolent (see separate entry) one is that the benevolent one is actively kind and generous while the benign one is more passive.

• Benevolence is usually active generosity or kindness, while benignancy tends to mean simply not causing harm.

• The opposite of a benign tumor is a malignant one. This is a tumor that can kill you. A malignant means nasty, evil and full of dangers.

This is a list of Difficult Words: Belittle, Belie, Belligerent, Bemused, Benefactor, Benevolent and Benign





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