Tuesday 30 June 2009

Often Misused Words

aghast – amazed, appalled or angry? (appalled)

– dynasty, ancestry or mastery? (Sounds like ancestry – but it means mastery.)

– array, attack or barrage? (array)

belie – betray, reveal or contradict? (contradict)

compunction – compulsion, compassion or contrition? (None of these – it’s a prick of conscience.)

– reluctance, respect or shyness? (shyness)

edifice – the front of a building, a building or a tower? (A building – the front is the façade.)

– battle, excursion or raid? (A fray is a battle, a foray is a raid or incursion.)

– high, holy or hollow? (holy)

– gap, heyday or exodus? (gap)

– porridge, sermon or homage? (sermon)

– endow, infuse, permeate or drain? (permeate) (There’s an archaic word “endue” or “indue” which means “endow”. And “imbrue” or “embrue” means “to saturate”. Endue thy ministers with righteousness!)

inherent – installed, innate or inevitable? (innate)

insipid – tepid, insidious or bland? (bland)

invariably – unavoidably, always or nearly always? (always)

lauded – praised, boasted or saluted? (praised)

novitiate – novice nun, group of novice nuns or member of a religion? (Sounds like initiate, but it means a group of trainee nuns, not a single novice.)

– defamation, funeral or obligation? (defamation)

obtuse – lateral, stupid or impermeable? (stupid)

opprobrium – approval or disapproval? (disapproval)

ostensibly – originally, apparently or showily? (apparently – if you want showy, try ostentatious)

preoccupation – prejudice, worry or obsession? (worry)

proviso – provision, premise or caveat? (caveat)

reticent – disinclined, reserved or religious? (reserved. If you’re disinclined to do something you’re reluctant.)

sacrosanct – holy, taboo or superb? (holy)

sanguine – sarcastic, optimistic or sardonic? (optimistic)

spatchcocked – sprawled, straddled, splayed or botched up? (splayed)

touted – praised, rejected or sold in the street? (sold)

vaunt – leap, brag or advertise? (brag – it’s vaulting ambition that o’erleaps itself)

When you examine something closely, do you pore, pour or paw over it? (pore)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this guide, a lot of it was news to me, and not at all insipid!