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  • Fabulist= (1) a teller of fables, (2) a habitual liar, (3) someone who bends the truth for self-promotion or to exert influence.
  • FacepalmFacepalm = (1) an interjection expressing exasperation, (2) a noun for a face-to-palm gesture of exasperation, and (3) a verb for the act of making such a gesture.
  • FactoidFactoid = originally a quasi fact that doesn't exist before it is published as one; now a briefly expressed, interesting fact.
  • Fain vs. feignFain = (1) an adjective meaning glad or content to do something, and (2) an adverb meaning willingly or gladly. Feign= to pretend, to give a false appearance of, or to imitate.
  • Fair vs. fareFair = (1) of pleasing appearance, (2) just to all parties, (3) moderately good, and (4) an event or gathering held for the selling of goods or for public entertainment. Fare = (1) a transportation charge, (2) a passenger who pays a transportation charge, (3) food and drink, and (4) to get along.
  • Fait accompli= something that can no longer be changed.
  • Falsehood, falsity, falsenessA falsehood is (1) a lie, (2) an untrue statement, and (3) the practice of lying. Falseness is the quality or condition of being untrue. Falsity is a variant of both.
  • Fantods= a very bad mood or a feeling of extreme upset or anxiety.
  • Far East, Middle East, Near EastFar East = East Asia. Middle East = the eastern Mediterranean region, the Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, and Iran. Near East = an obsolescent term for the region once dominated by the Ottoman Empire.
  • Farther vs. furtherOutside the U.S., farther is a less common variant of further in the sense at a greater distance. In the U.S., farther refers to physical distances and further to nonphysical distances.
  • FastlyFast is a flat adverb, meaning it works adverbially without the -ly ending. Fastly is superfluous.
  • Faun vs. fawnFaun: a rural god taking the form of a man with goat ears, horns, tail, and legs. Fawn: 1. a young dear; 2. to flatter.
  • Faux= fake.
  • Faux pas= a social blunder or indiscretion.
  • Favor vs. favourfavor in the U.S.; favour everywhere else.
  • Favorite vs. favouriteFavorite in the U.S.; favourite everywhere else.
  • Fay, feyFey now means fairylike, elfin, or otherworldly. Fay and the older senses of fey are now mostly gone.
  • Faze vs. phasePhase = to plan or carry out systematically. Faze = to disrupt the composure of.
  • Fearful vs. fearsomeFearful = frightened. Fearsome = causing fear.
  • Feckless
  • Feminity vs. femininityFemininity is the standard form.
  • Ferret out= (1) to drive from (a place), and (2) to search out, investigate, or bring to light.
  • Fervent vs. fervidThere is no substantive difference between them.
  • Fewer vs. lessThe widely repeated rule is that fewer is for countable things and less is for uncountable things. Regardless of whether the rule is useful or logical, many people believe in it strongly.
  • Fiancé and fiancéeA fiancé is a man engaged to be married. A fiancée is a woman engaged to be married.
  • Fiber vs. fibreFiber in the U.S.; fibre everywhere else.
  • Fiction vs. nonfictionFiction is made up, and nonfiction deals with facts and real events.
  • Fictional vs. fictitiousFictional = of or relating to fiction. Fictitious = imaginary or fabricated.
  • Figurehead= a nominal leader who has no actual authority.
  • Filet vs. filletA fillet is any strip of boneless meat. Filet is mostly reserved for French cuisine, though Americans and Canadians in particular are loose with the distinction.
  • Financer vs. financierFinancer = someone who finances a particular undertaking. Financier = someone who makes a habit or a career out of financing things.
  • Firefight= an exchange of gunfire.
  • Firing line vs. line of fireA firing line a row of shooters directing fire at a target, but in figurative use the phrase is often used to refer to people who are in the line of fire. To be in the line of fire is to be in or near the paths of flying projectiles.
  • First floorU.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand: the ground-level floor. U.K., Ireland, South Africa: the floor above the ground-level floor.
  • First-world, third-world
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc.
  • Fish vs. fishesFish is the conventional plural, but fishes works better for referring to multiple types or species of fish.
  • Fit vs. fittedFit is often uninflected in the U.S. and Canada, whereas it usually becomes fitted outside North America. The words differ as adjectives: fit means healthy or appropriate, and fitted means designed to fit.
  • Flack vs. flakA flack is someone who talks up his or her employer. Flak is (1) antiaircraft artillery, and (2) excessive or abusive criticism.
  • Flair vs. flareFlare mostly has to do with fire. Flair refers to (1) distinctive elegance or style, or (2) a natural talent or aptitude.
  • Flammable vs. inflammableBoth mean capable of burning or easy to ignite. Flammable is now the more common form.
  • Flash in the pan= something that starts strong but quickly fails.
  • Flaunt vs. floutTo flaunt is to exhibit or parade (something) in an ostentatious manner. To flout is (1) to show contempt for or to scorn, or (2) to contemptuously ignore (especially rules or conventions).
  • Flautist vs. flutistFlutist in the U.S.; flautist everywhere else.
  • Flavor vs. flavourFlavor in the U.S.; flavour everywhere else.
  • Flesh out vs. flush outTo flesh out is to give substance to something. To flush out is to bring something out in the open.
  • Fleshly vs. fleshyFleshly = of or relating to the body. Fleshy = (1) relating to, consisting of, or resembling flesh, or (2) plump.
  • Flied= the past tense and past participle of fly in the baseball phrasal verb fly out.
  • Flier vs. flyerAny distinction between them is not widely borne out in any part of the English-speaking world.
  • Flora and faunaFauna is animals. Flora is plants.
  • Flotsam and jetsam= (1) items floating or washed ashore; (2) an accumulation of odds and ends.
  • Flounder vs. founderTo flounder is to struggle. To founder is to fail.
  • Flu vs. flueFlu = influenza. Flue = an exhaust pipe or tube.
  • Fly-by-night1. (especially of a business or businessperson) fraudulent or dishonest; 2. fleeting or insubstantial.
  • Follow up, follow-up, followupFollow-up/followup is a noun and an adjective (the word is commonly spelled both with and without the hyphen). Follow up is the corresponding verb.
  • Foolproof vs. full-proofFoolproof = infallible, or impervious to fools.
  • Foot
  • Football fields= an informal unit of measurement roughly equally the area of an acre or a length of 100 yards.
  • For all intensive purposes (for all intents and purposes)For all intents and purposes is the usual form of the phrase. For all intensive purposes is an eggcorn.
  • For God's sakeIt takes several ungrammatical idiomatic forms.
  • For heaven's sakeBy the usual standards of English, heaven's takes the possessive form, and sake is singular.
  • For the purpose ofThe phrase can usually be shortened to a one-world equivalent.
  • Fora vs. forumsForums is the more common form in popular usage.
  • Forbear vs. forebearForbear = to refrain or hold back. Forebear = an ancestor.
  • Forbidding vs. forebodingForeboding = a sense of impending misfortune. Forbidding = hostile, unfriendly, or impeding progress.
  • Force majeure= (1) superior or overpowering force, and (2) an unexpected or uncontrollable event.
  • Forecast vs. forecastedBoth forms are used for the past tense and past participle.
  • Forego vs. forgoForego traditionally means go before, but it is now usually a variant of forgo which means go without or abstain.
  • Foreword vs. forwardForward = toward the front. Foreword = an introductory note to a book.
  • Former, latterFormer applies to the first in a series of two things. Latter applies to the second.
  • Forte= (1) a strength; (2) played loudly.
  • Fortuitous vs. fortunateFortuitous = accidental or happening by chance. Fortunate = having good look or bringing something good.
  • Forty vs. fourtyIn modern English, fourty is considered a misspelling.
  • Foul vs. fowlFowl = chickens and game birds. Foul = (1) offensive, (2) to make dirty, (3) a violation of rules of play.
  • Frankenstein's monsterFrankenstein = the creator. Frankenstein's monster = the creation.
  • FraughtFraught with means full of. Fraught alone means (1) distressed or (2) producing anxiety.
  • Free rein vs. free reignFree rein is the standard spelling.
  • Freshwater vs. fresh waterThe one-word form is an adjective. When it functions as a noun, it's a two-word phrase.
  • Fritter awayTo fritter away is to squander something little by little. Fritter here is sometimes rendered frit, a word that traditionally has an entirely different meaning.
  • Frivolity vs. frivolousnessFrivolousness = the quality of being unworthy of serious attention. Frivolity = (1) silliness, (2) lightheartedness, or (3) a frivolous thing.
  • Fueled/fueling vs. fuelled/fuellingfueled and fueling in American English; fuelled and fuelling everywhere else.
  • Fulfil vs. fulfillFulfill in the U.S. and sometimes in Canada; fulfil everywhere else.
  • Full stop vs. periodFor the punctuation mark at the end of declarative sentences, period is the preferred term in American English, and full stop is the usual term elsewhere.
  • Full-fledged, fully fledged= newly fully developed. Full-fledged is more common in North America; fully fledged is more common everywhere else.
  • FulsomeTraditionally, it means excessively flattering or offensive. It now often means abundant, without negative connotations.
  • FunerealFunereal = gloomy or like a funeral. Funeral doubles as an adjective for describing things that directly have to do with funerals.
  • Fungi vs. fungusesThe Latin plural is preferred.
  • Funner, funnestThe only thing wrong with them is that some people think they're wrong. But fun is an adjective in today's English, so there is nothing inherently wrong with these forms.
  • Furor vs. furoreOutside North America, the word is spelled furore and means a public uproar. In North America the word is spelled furor and bears the additional senses (1) violent anger, and (2) a state of intense excitement.

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