Ruff vs rough

A ruff is a band of fur or feathers that is differently colored or longer than the surrounding fur or feathers, or a starched, frilled collar worn during Elizabethan times. Ruff is derived from the word ruffle, which is derived from the Old Norse word hrufla, meaning to scratch and the Low German word ruffelen, meaning to wrinkle or curl. Related words are ruffed and rufflike. When describing the vocalization of a dog, the correct spelling is ruff. Rough means not smooth, not level, behaving … [Read more...]

Rye vs wry

Rye is a cereal plant and the grains that come from this cereal plant. Rye is used as fodder, in whiskey-making and bread-making. Rye may be used as a noun or an adjective, in North America ryebread may be shortened to simply rye. Rye comes from the Old English word, ryge, and from the Germanic word, ruig. Wry refers to a dry humor or a twisted facial expression. Wry is an adjective, related words are wryer and wryest. The only correct adverb form is wryly, the only correct noun form is … [Read more...]

Aloud vs allowed

Aloud means not silently, spoken out loud. Aloud may be used as an adverb or as an adjective. Aloud comes to us in the late fourteenth century by adding the prefix a- to the word loud. Allowed is the past tense of the verb allow, meaning 1.) to permit, 2.) to let happen, 3.) to permit entrance, 4.) to acknowledge the truth or acceptability of something. Related words are allows, allowing, allowedly. Allow comes into the English language in the fourteenth century as allouen, from the the Latin … [Read more...]

Sail vs sale

A sail is a large piece of fabric, canvas or nylon, hoisted from a mast on a ship to catch the wind and thereby move the ship across the water. A sail is also the voyage on that ship. A sail may refer to something sail-shaped meant to catch wind, such as a part of a windmill. When used as a verb, sail may mean to travel in or navigate a sailing ship, to pass through a process easily, to move smoothly and rapidly, to succeed. Related words are sails, sailed, sailing. Sail comes from the Old … [Read more...]

Resister vs resistor

A resister is one who resists, one who stands firm against something, refuses compliance or withstands temptation. A resister may also be a coating that protects a surface during some processes. Related words are resist, resists, resisted, resisting, resistible, resistibility, resistibly. Resister appears in the late fourteenth century¬† from the Old French word resister, meaning hold out against. A resistor is an electrical component that resists the passage of electricity. It is used to … [Read more...]

Pidgin vs pigeon

Pidgin is a simplified version of a language used by two non-fluent speakers in order to communicate. Pidgin languages have limited structure and vocabulary in order to facilitate the communication between two speakers who do not share a common native tongue. Pigeon English was spoken in China in 1859 in order to communicate with Europeans. The spelling was changed to pidgin English in 1876. The word pidgin comes from the Chinese pronunciation of the English word, business. Pidgin is a term that … [Read more...]

Taught vs taut

Taught is the past tense of teach, to give instruction or impart knowledge. Related words are teaches and teaching. Taught is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Taught comes from the Old English tahte, past tense of the Old English word taecan. Taut is an adjective which means pulled tight, tense and strained, controlled. Related words are tautly, tautness. The verb form is tauten. Taut comes to us from the mid-thirteenth century tohte or Middle English toght, meaning … [Read more...]

Copse vs cops

A copse is a small grove or thicket of trees or shrubs. Copse comes into use in the 1570s, it is a contraction of coppice, which also dates from the fourteenth century. While copse refers to any group of trees, a coppice is a thicket grown specifically for cutting. It comes from the Old French copeiz, meaning a cut-over forest. Cops may be 1.) the plural of cop, American slang for policeman 2.) to arrest someone 3.) to steal 4.) American slang for buying drugs. Related verb forms of cops are … [Read more...]

Soar vs sore

Soar is a verb which means to fly high, to rise into the air, to glide on air currents. Soar is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Soar may also be used as a noun to refer to the act of soaring, related words are soars, soared, soaring, soarer, soaringly. The word soar appears in the fourteenth century, from the Old French essorer meaning fly up, soar. Sore is an adjective which painful, tender, physical pain or emotional pain. Sore also may describe a point … [Read more...]

Lentil vs lintel

A lentil is a small legume that is usually dried, then soaked before cooking. Lentil may also refer to the plant that bears the small legumes. Lentils may be green, red, brown or black. The term lentil first appears in the mid-1200s, from the Old French lentille which refers to the lentil, and also means freckle. A lintel is a horizontal crosspiece above a door or window which supports the weight of the structure. Sometimes, a lintel contains a window and is opened to allow heat to escape … [Read more...]

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