Uncommon Words, Commonly Confused—Part II



I promised that I have a long list of homonyms (words that sound or look like other words) wherein one of the words in the pair is used rarely, so it’s easily mistaken for the word that’s used frequently. Let’s examine some more!

The definitions below are from my dictionary of choice, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Words between brackets are mine.



And be sure to peruse the original post on these uncommon words that are commonly confused with common ones.

Uncommon Word Common Homonym
Aweigh: Raised just clear of the bottom—used of an anchor. [Anchors aweigh!] Away: From this or that place. In another direction. Absent from a place. Distant in space or time. [And many others.]
Eke: To get with great difficulty. [Eke out a living.] Eek: Used to express surprise or dismay. [Eek! A mouse.]
Forebear: Ancestor, forefather; also precursor—usu. used in pl. Forbear: To hold oneself back from esp. with an effort.
Gage: A token of defiance; a glove or cap cast on the ground to be taken up by an opponent as a pledge of combat. Gauge: A measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard or system. [Railroad gauge or shotgun gauge.]
Mantle: A loose sleeveless garment worn over other clothes: cloak. A figurative cloak symbolizing preeminence or authority (accepted the mantle of leadership). Something that covers, enfolds, or envelops. Mantel: A beam, stone, or arch serving as a lintel to support the masonry above a fireplace. The finish around a fireplace. A shelf above a fireplace.

Can you think of any other words that belong on this list? Post them in the comments.



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