Homonyms



Homonyms are words that sound the same when pronounced, but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

Example: Loose and lose

Many people make this mistake. They inevitably interchange the words loose and lose while writing.

Lose means to suffer a loss or defeat.

Thus, you would write:

Correct: I don't want to lose you.

Wrong: I don't want to loose you.

Loose means NOT FIRM or NOT FITTING.

In this context, you would write,

Correct: My shirt is loose.

Wrong: My shirt is lose.

Here are many more homonyms which you have to know to write distinctively. Cache :

Hidden storage, as in: Lost in the woods, we were happy to find a cache of food belonging to some hunters.

Cash :

Money paid at the time of purchase, as in: Will this be cash or charge?

Calendar :

Device for showing divisions of time, as in: Mark this date on your calendar.

Colander :

Strainer, as in: Use the colander to drain the noodles.

Callous :

Unfeeling, as in: Drinking and driving shows a callous disregard for life.

Callus :

Hard, thickened skin, as in: I have a callus on my finger from holding the pencil.

Canvas :

Durable cloth made from cotton, linen, or hemp, as in: This fine painting is oil on canvas.

Canvass :

Go around asking, as in: Canvass the neighborhood to see if anyone saw the suspect.

Capital :

(1) City where the seat of government of a state or country is located, as in: Washington, D. C. is the capital of the United States of America.

(2) Upper case letter, as in: Writing in all capitals on the Internet is considered shouting, and is rude.

Capitol :

Building in which the US Congress meets, as in: When I visited Washington, DC, I toured the Capitol.

Carton :

Lightweight container or box, as in: Please send me one carton of printer cartridges.

Cartoon :

Drawing, often humorous, as in: Dilbert is a popular cartoon character.

Casual :

Informal, as in: For a picnic in the park, it's best to wear casual clothes.

Causal :

Relating to a cause, as in: The causal forces behind many diseases have not been discovered yet.

Cease :

Stop, as in: If someone violates your copyright, send them a Cease and Desist letter immediately.

Seize :

Grab, as in: The guerillas tried to seize control of the town.

Siege :

Prolonged period of trouble or annoyance, as in: Our family has had a siege of bad colds this year.

Cede :

Yield, as in: At the war's end, the loser had to cede the disputed territory to the winner.

Seed :

Beginning of a new plant, as in: The seed of an avocado can be planted in soil or water.

Ceiling :

Upper limit of a room, as in: A light-colored ceiling makes a room seem brighter.

Sealing :

Closing airtight, as in: Sealing the containers is important to keep the contents fresh.

Cell :

Small room, as in: She will spend two months in a prison cell for her mistake.

Sell :

Offer for sale, as in: I will sell you my car.

Cellar :

Underground room, as in : In our house, the cellar was always damp.

Seller :

One who offers for sale, as in: Amazon.com is a seller of books.

Census :

Population count, as in: The last census showed an increase in single-parent families.

Senses :

Sound mental faculties, as in: Don't call me until you have come to your senses.

Cent :

One-hundredth of a monetary unit, as in: In the US, a penny is worth one cent.

Scent :

Odor, as in: The detective smelled the scent of almonds-could it be cyanide poisoning?

Sent :

Past tense of send, as in: I sent you Email yesterday.

Cents :

Plural of cent, as in: His opinion is only worth two cents.

Sense :

Method of perception, as in: Ears provide us with the sense of hearing.

Cereal :

Breakfast food prepared from grain, as in: My favorite cereal is Grape-Nuts; what's yours?

Serial :

Arranged in a series, as in: I hope they catch that serial killer soon.

Cession :

Act of ceding (surrendering) to another, as in: The treaty included cession of all captured territories.

Session :

Meeting or term, as in: I will take two classes during the summer session.

Chews :

Grinds with teeth, as in: She chews her food carefully.

Choose :

Select, as in: There are many good programs to choose from.

Chose :

Past tense of choose, as in: My son chose a university near home.

Chic :

Stylishness and elegance: "Paris is the city for timeless bargain chic, in almost any category."

Chick :

Small chicken or bird: A chick pecks its way out of the egg.

Chord :

A combination of musical tones played simultaneously, as in: His symphony is entitled The Lost Chord.

Cord :

Small rope, as in: Please pull the silver cord to summon the maid.

Chute :

Slanted shaft from a higher level to a lower one, as in: The gravel came rumbling down the chute.

Shoot :

To discharge a weapon, as in: Don't shoot! I'm unarmed.

Cite :

Quote, as in: Your proposal will be more persuasive if you cite results of a recent survey.

Sight :

Vision, as in: Our eyes provide us with one sense of sight; our imagination, another.

Site :

Exact location, as in: Thank you for visiting my web site. Please come back often.

Cliche :

Overused expression, as in: A good business writer tries to avoid using a cliche.

Click :

Make a light, sharp sound, as in: The instructions said to click on the left mouse button.

Clique :

Small, exclusive group of people, as in: I wasn't invited to join their clique.

Climactic :

Having to do with the climax of something, as in: The villain falling off the cliff was the climactic scene of the movie.

Climatic :

Having to do with climate, as in: The climatic conditions in the South Pole can be described in one word: cold!

Close :

Shut, as in: Please close the door when you leave.

Clothes :

Wearing apparel, as in: Wear your nicest business clothes for your interview for that job.

Cloths :

Pieces of fabric, as in: Use the cloths under the sink for dusting.

Course :

Rough, as in: Their garments were made of a coarse cloth.

Course :

(1) Natural development, as in: The doctor said the disease must run its course.

(2) A unit of study, as in: She got an A in that course.

Collision :

Crash, as in: Was anyone hurt in the collision?

Collusion :

Conspiracy, as in: The price rise was due to collusion among the manufacturers.

Coma :

Unconscious state, as in: The accident victim was in a coma for six months.

Comma :

Punctuation mark, as in: Use a comma to show where you would normally pause if you were reading the sentence out loud.

Command :

Give an order, as in: That sounded more like a command than a request.

Commend :

Praise, as in: I commend you for the effort in reading this list.

Commence :

Begin, as in: We commence work Monday at 9 A.M.

Comments :

Remarks, as in: I appreciate your comments about this list.

Complement :

That which completes, as in: As an author, I need input from readers to complement my point of view.

Compliment :

Expression of praise, as in: Sometimes a critical remark is more useful than a compliment.

Comprehensible :

Understandable, as in: I was surprised that the instructions were so comprehensible.

Comprehensive :

Covering a wide area, as in: In order to graduate, one must take a comprehensive examination of the subject.

Confidant :

Someone you tell secrets to, as in: He was always my best friend and confidant.

Confident :

Self-assured, as in: Are you confident you can finish the project on schedule?

Confidentially :

Spoken in a private manner, as in: Confidentially, I am looking for another job.

Confidently :

Firmly assured, as in: You can confidently raise your arms in public if you use a CERTAIN brand of deodorant, according to their television commercial.

Conscience :

Inner sense of right and wrong, as in: Wouldn't it bother your conscience to lie to your friends?

Conscious :

Aware or awake, as in: The patient was conscious for an hour, then relapsed into a coma.

Conservation :

Protection from loss or waste, as in: We show concern about conservation of bandwidth by making efficient Web pages .

Conversation :

Talk between people, as in: I very much enjoyed our conversation yesterday.

Consul :

Representative of a foreign government, as in: For our next seminar about exporting, let's see if we can get a consul from an Eastern European country to be a featured speaker.

Council :

Elected or appointed group of people assembled for governing or advising, as in: We're going to have to take that idea up with the town council.

Counsel :

(1) Give advice or opinion, as in: Volunteers counsel the young people.

(2) Attorney, as in: I had this contract drawn up on advice of counsel.

Consular :

Having to do with the representative of a foreign government, as in: Phone Wieslaw Czyzowicz, the man in charge of consular affairs at the Polish Consulate.

Councilor :

Appointed or elected member of a council, as in: As councilor for this township, I welcome your ideas.

Counselor :

Advisor, as in: You need a letter from your guidance counselor for your scholarship application.

Continual :

Occurring frequently and regularly, as in: Every night we are disturbed by the continual barking of your dog.

Continuous :

Unbroken, as in: He writes his name in one long, continuous line.

Contiguous :

Adjacent or touching, as in: The contiguous states of the United States do not include Alaska and Hawaii.

Cooperation :

Work together for a common purpose, as in: Many people believe cooperation will help you succeed more than competition will.

Corporation :

A business structure, as in: A corporation is established by the authority of a state government and exists independent of the people who own it.

Core :

Central or essential part, as in: A good communicator emphasizes the core of the message.

Corps :

A group of people who act as a body rather than as individuals, as in: She was satisfied to dance with the corps de ballet rather to become a soloist.

Corespondents :

Joint defendants in a court case, as in: The bank official and his secretary were corespondents in the divorce trial.

Correspondence :

Exchange of letters, as in: I'm so busy with work it's hard to keep up with my correspondence.

Costume :

Specialised style of dress, as in: I wore a peasant costume to the Renaissance Fair.

Custom :

Habitual practice, as in: In the United States, business people have the custom of shaking hands when they meet.

Courtesy :

Politeness, as in: Your staff extended me every courtesy during my stay at your hotel.

Curtsy :

Bow with bended knees, as in: When a woman is presented to the Queen, she is expected to curtsy.

Credible :

Believable, as in: Unfortunately, we don't have a credible witness to the crime.

Creditable :

Praiseworthy, as in: He did a creditable job in winning us that contract.

Credulous :

Gullible, as in: What kind of credulous fool do you think I am, to believe in such an impossible scheme?

Critic :

One who evaluates, as in: The critic gave the new movie a favorable review.

Critique :

A formal analysis of a work, as in: Please send your request for a site review to the HWG critique mailing list.

Cue :

Signal to begin, as in: At the meeting, I won't say anything until I get the cue from you.

Queue :

People in line, as in: We had to wait in the queue to get tickets for the movie.

Currant :

A berry, as in: I made some fresh currant jam to go with the biscuits.

Current :

Up to date, as in: The current issue of Internet World has some good information on graphics design.

Dairy :

Having to do with milk and milk products, as in: Our best customer sells dairy products.

Diary :

Daily record of events, as in: I kept a diary when the twins were tiny, to help me remember which baby I fed last.

Data :

Facts and figures, as in: He designed a survey to collect data about visitors to his Web site.

Datum :

A single fact, as in: We based our measurements on the datum of the boiling point of water. (Note: rarely used outside scientific literature)

Deceased :

Dead, as in: I am sorry to report that our hospital records show that your uncle is deceased.

Diseased :

Seriously ill: The fact that he was poor and diseased never seemed to affect his wonderful sense of humor.

Decent :

In good taste, as in: Gestures considered decent in one culture may be obscene in another.

Descent :

Going downward, as in: His descent from the airplane was much slower after he pulled the cord on his parachute.

Dissent :

Disagreement, as in: Of the twelve judges ruling on the case, hers was the only voice of dissent.

Dissidence :

Strong disagreement and outright opposition, as in: The government's oppressive policies led to such dissidence that they were ousted in the next election.

Decree :

Official decision or order, as in: The decree made all the striking workers return to their jobs.

Degree :

Step, grade, or rank, as in: She suffered third-degree burns on her arms rescuing the child.

Decry :

To openly condemn or ridicule, as in: Those who believe in a democratic society decry tyranny in any form.

Descry :

To see or catch sight of, often from a distance, as in: When I descry the island, I'll shout, "Land Ho!"

Deduce :

Form an opinion from a solid basis of fact, as in: From the size of these shoeprints, I deduce the intruder was wearing large shoes. (You thought I was going to say had large feet, didn't you?)

Deduct :

Subtract, as in: Please deduct this amount from my bill.

Defer :

(1) Delay or postpone, as in: We can defer the charges one month.

(2) Yield out of respect, as in: I defer to my colleague's greater experience in this field.

Differ :

Disagree, as in: I must differ with you about the meaning of that word.

Deference :

Courteous regard, as in: The young people in that family showed great deference for their elders.

Difference :

Distinguishing characteristic, as in: The difference is that my web site loads quickly while your's does not.

Delusion :

Mistaken belief of a confused state of mind, as in: He was under the delusion that he could fly.

Allusion :

Indirect or casual mention, as in: No one made any allusion to the scandal while she was in the room.

Elusion :

Evasion or clever escape, as in: The embezzlers celebrated their elusion of the police a little too soon.

Illusion :

Presentation of a false or misleading idea, as in: The magician gave the illusion of sawing the woman in half.

Deposition :

Sworn, written statement, as in: Before the start of the trial, each of the witnesses gave a deposition of their testimony.

Disposition :

(1) Tendency to react in a certain way, as in: Pollyanna had an especially cheerful disposition.

(2) Final settlement, as in: The disposition of my father's estate took longer than I thought it would.

Depraved :

Extreme departure from what is normal and good, as in: He was a depraved murderer.

Deprived :

Take away from, as in: He claimed that, during his childhood, he was deprived of any warmth and affection.

Deprecate :

Belittle, as in: Have you noticed that he seems to deprecate himself just so we have to compliment him?

Depreciate :

Fall in value or price, as in: A new car will start to depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot.

Desert :

(1) Hot, dry, sandy place, as in: Not all kinds of plants can grow in a desert.

(2) Abandon or forsake, as in: The loyal little dog refused to desert his master.

Dessert :

End of a meal, usually something sweet, as in: I don't think I'll order any dessert today, thank you.

Desolate :

(1) Deserted or uninhabited, as in: They washed up on the shore of a desolate island.

(2) Miserable, as in: I am desolate that you believed I could do a thing like that.

Dissolute :

Characterised by loose moral standards, as in: The younger son led a dissolute lifestyle before he returned home to his family.

Detract :

Take something away from the value or reputation of, as in: Words that are not properly used can detract from a writer's credibility.

Distract :

Divert attention from, as in: A blinking graphic on a Web page will distract a reader trying to read text.

Device :

Invention, as in: If your device works, I think you should get a patent for it.

Devise :

Think up a way to do something new, as in: HTML was devised to tell a Web browser how to show the relative importance of lines of text in a Web document.

Dew :

Moisture, as in: It was a beautiful spring morning, and the grass sparkled with dew.

Do :

Make, cause, perform, carry out, and act, as in: What shall I do to convince them?

Due :

Payable, as in: The rent is due the first of every month.

Die :

(1) Stop living or existing, as in: The doctor said without an operation the patient would surely die.

(2) Device for shaping, as in: He used to be a tool-and-die maker before the terrible accident.

Dye :

Color, as in: I think I will dye my hair a lighter shade.

Disapprove :

View with disfavor, as in: His parents disapprove of his truancy.

Disprove :

Prove to be false, as in: The accused was determined to disprove the charges against him.

Disassemble :

Take apart, as in: It was easy to disassemble the clock, but it wasn't so easy to put it back together again.

Dissemble :

Disguise or conceal the real nature of, as in: I'd rather be honest about my shortcomings than dissemble or pretend to be something I'm not.

Disburse :

Pay out funds, as in: Do you think the foundation will disburse the funds soon?

Disperse :

Scatter, as in: The security guards told the crowd to disperse or face arrest.

Discreet :

Prudent, trustworthy, as in: A discreet accountant is a valuable business asset.

Discrete :

Separate and distinct, as in: The company is composed of three discrete units.

Disinterested :

Not influenced by personal motives, as in: To mediate this argument, we need a disinterested person.

Uninterested :

Unconcerned, as in: I knew she was sick because she was uninterested in food.

Divers :

Various, several, as in: We have provided divers acts for your entertainment.

Diverse :

Markedly different or conspicuously contrasting, as in: His hobbies are as diverse as whitewater-rafting and needlepoint.

Done :

Completed, as in: Call me when the Web site is done.

Dun :

Demand repeatedly, as in: The collection agency went to great lengths to dun him for payment of his.

Edition :

Published version, as in: Read the latest edition of the Tax Tips and Tactics newsletter.

Addition :

Something added, as in: We toured the addition to the hospital yesterday.

Effect :

(1, a noun) immediate or direct result, as in: What effect does that medicine have on you?

(2, a verb) accomplish, as in: He braided the bedsheets to effect an escape.

Affect :

To act upon or influence, as in: Strong emotions can affect your health.

Effective :

Producing the desired result, as in: He has an effective introduction in his presentation.

Efficient :

Producing the desired result with the least waste, as in: I design graphics for Web pages that are an efficient use of bandwidth.

Eight :

The number after seven, as in: Breakfast will be at eight in the morning.

Ate :

Past tense of eat, as in: We ate in that new restaurant last week.

Elapse :

(Of time) pass by, as in: Three minutes elapsed before her page had completely loaded--too many graphics!

Lapse :

(1) To slip or fall, as in: When the announcement came, we all lapsed into silence.

(2) To lose effect, as in: Your insurance policy will lapse if you don't pay the premiums.

Relapse :

A slip backwards, as in: Just when we thought he was going to get well, he suffered a relapse.

Elicit :

Draw out, as in: The band's performances always elicit praise from the critics.

Illicit :

Not allowed, as in: Illicit copying of another person's work is punishable by law.

Eligible :

Qualified for, as in: Every person who submits a new word this month is eligible to win the prize.

Illegible :

Hard to read, as in: I have seen Web sites where the text was illegible because the background was too strong a design.

Ineligible :

Legally disqualified, as in: In the US, a president who has been elected twice is ineligible to run again.

Allusion :

Indirect or casual mention, as in: No one made any allusion to the scandal while she was in the room.

Illusion :

Presentation of a false or misleading idea, as in: The magician gave the illusion of sawing the woman in half.

Delusion :

Mistaken belief of a confused state of mind, as in: He was under the delusion that he could fly.

Elusion :

Evasion or clever escape, as in: The embezzlers celebrated their elusion of the police a little too soon.

Elusive :

Hard to catch or grasp, as in: The solution to the problem proved more elusive than they first thought.

Illusive :

Deceptive or unreal, as in: Lost in the desert, he saw an illusive oasis called a mirage.

Emerge :

Come out of something enclosed, as in: Out of four candidates, you emerge as the favorite.

Immerge :

Plunge into (same as immerse), as in: Immerge the burn in cold water to minimize the skin damage.

Immerse :

Plunge into, as in: Sometimes we get so immersed in our work, we forget how much time has elapsed.

Emigrate :

Move out of a country, as in: My neighbors decided to emigrate to New Zealand [Images] while the children were still young.

Immigrate :

Move into a country, as in: My mother immigrated to this country from Lithuania.

Emanate :

Flow out from, as in : She was so creative that ideas just seemed to emanate from her.

Eminent :

Outstanding, as in: Steven Hawking is one of the most eminent thinkers of our time.

Imminent :

Impending, as in: When she heard a storm was imminent, she backed up her work and unplugged the computer.

En route :

On the way, as in: En route to town to sell the cow, Jack traded the cow for some magic beans.

Root :

(1) Underground part of a plant, as in: A carrot is a root vegetable.

(2) Origin or source, as in: We can't solve this problem until we get to its root.

(3) cheer for or wish success for, as in: Who did you root for in the Olympics ?

Rout :

Terrible defeat, as in: The Super Bowl turned out to be a complete rout.

Route :

A path which is planned and followed regularly, as in: I'm thinking of supplementing my salary with a newspaper route.

Assure :

Declare positively, as in: I assure you that I will be finished by next Tuesday.

Ensure :

Make sure, as in: Order today to ensure delivery by Monday.

Insure :

Cover by insurance, as in: This Company will insure the data on my hard disk as well as the computer itself.

Envelop :

Enfold or surround completely, as in: The python slithered forward to envelop its prey and crush it.

Envelope :

Container for a letter, as in: Please send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request.

Equable :

Even or equal and uniform, as in: Their goal is to create a more equable taxation system.

Equitable :

Fair and just, as in: The injured party sought an equitable settlement.

Erasable :

Capable of being rubbed out or removed, as in: Don't use an eraseable pen when doing your bookkeeping records, because these records are supposed to be permanent.

Irascible :

Easily provoked to anger, as in: After years of enduring chronic pain, he became so irascible it took courage to go visit him.

Especially :

Standing apart uniquely from the rest, as in: The air quality where I live is especially bad.

Specially :

Given unusual treatment, as in: Look in the specially-marked boxes for your entry blank.

Assay :

Chemical analysis, as in: The assay office will test your ore to see how much gold it contains.

Essay :

A short composition expressing the author's opinions, as in: Students applying for a scholarship often have to write an essay.

Every day :

Each day without exception, as in: Every day, he comes home and says, "Hi, Honey. What's for dinner?"

Everyday :

Ordinary, as in: Wear your everyday clothes to school, and save your finest for special occasions.

Every one :

Each, without exception, as in: I bought a dozen eggs yesterday and every one was cracked when I got home.

Everyone :

Everybody, as in: Everyone at work says to tell you, "Get well soon."

Ewe :

Female sheep, as in: The ewe was bleating and looking for her lamb.

Yew :

Evergreen tree of the taxus genus, as in: The finest violin bows are made of yew wood.

You :

The one or ones being spoken to, as in: I guarantee that you will be satisfied or your money will be cheerfully refunded.

Exalt :

Glorify or put much higher, as in: In ancient Egypt, the pharoah was exalted over his subjects.

Exult :

Rejoice, as in: The winning team went to the restaurant to exult in their victory.

Accede :

(1) Give in to, as in: We accede to your demands.

(2) take a position of authority, as in: When did the King accede to the throne?

Exceed :

To go past a stated amount, as in: It is illegal to exceed the speed limit.

Accept :

To agree to take, as in: I accept the terms of your offer.

Except :

Excluding, as in: I knew all the answers on the test, except the last one.

Access :

Permission to go in or to approach, as in: No one has access to my private files but me.

Excess :

More than enough, as in: We gave our excess fruit to our neighbors.

Expand :

Enlarge, as in: One reason for a business to have a Web site is to expand its market.

Expend :

Pay out money, as in: Because they neglected to expend any money or time on marketing their business, they soon went bankrupt.

Expansive :

Broad, as in: Their expansive front lawn was the envy of the neighborhood.

Expensive :

Costing a lot of money, as in: A large front lawn can be expensive when you add up the water bills, fertilizer bills, and energy consumed in mowing it regularly.

Expatiate :

Write or speak in great detail, as in: Please forgive me if I expatiate, but this is my favorite topic.

Expiate :

Atone for or make amends for, as in: She devoted her life to charity to try to expiate the wrongs of her youth.

Extant :

Still existing, as in: The museum has the last extant copy of the manuscript.

Extent :

The limit to which something extends, as in: The extent of the Universe seems to grow as our ability to make better telescopes grows.

Articles Index



From Homonyms to HOME PAGE









Popular Pages

More Info