Absorption vs. adsorption

Absorption is the process by which things are absorbed. Adsorption, on the other hand, describes the act of gas or liquid molecules adhering to a surface. Both words are commonly misspelled as absorbtion and adsorbtion. This spelling error is usually corrected automatically by a computer's … [Read more...]

Tenant vs. tenet

A tenet is a principle held as being true, especially by an organization or a group of people. A tenant is (1) someone who pays rent to occupy property; (2) a dweller in a place; and, (3) in law, one who holds or possesses lands, tenements, or property by any kind of title. Examples Tenet He … [Read more...]

Affective vs. effective

Affective is an adjective meaning influenced by emotions or arousing emotions. It is roughly synonymous with emotional. It's used mainly in psychology, where affective disorders are conditions characterized by emotional problems or mood disturbances, though it does appear occasionally outside … [Read more...]

Chafe vs. chaff

To chafe is to irritate by rubbing. For example, a poorly made shoe might chafe your ankle. The word is often metaphorical; for instance, you might be chafed by a bothersome coworker who talks too much. Also, chafe sometimes becomes intransitive, taking the preposition at (or sometimes under), so … [Read more...]

Depository vs. repository

In its oldest English sense, dating from the 15th century,1 a repository is a place where things are stored, usually for safe keeping. Depository, which entered English a couple of centuries later,2 bears the same meaning (though, considered etymologically, a depository is a place where things are … [Read more...]

Discomfit vs. discomfort

To discomfit is (1) to throw into confusion, perplex, or embarrass; or (2) to thwart or defeat, especially in military conflict. The second sense is the original---and a handful of people insist that it is still the only correct use---but the first is more common today and is rarely questioned. The … [Read more...]

Grateful vs. gratified

Grateful means thankful. Gratified means satisfied or pleased---or, often, pleased to receive something one has worked for or long desired. Gratification doesn't necessarily involve gratitude; for instance, one might be gratified to see positive effects of one's hard work, or a victim of crime might … [Read more...]

Tolerance vs. toleration

Tolerance is a broadly defined noun with applications in science, medicine, and mechanics, in addition to its common use referring to one's acceptance of others' rights, beliefs, and practices. Toleration is mainly a less common variant of tolerance, though there are qualifications to this that … [Read more...]

Pall vs. pallor

As nouns, pall and pallor are unrelated. Pall refers primarily to a cloth draped over a coffin, and this definition gives rise to metaphorical senses: (1) something that shrouds or spreads over (e.g., a pall of fog), and (2) a gloomy atmosphere (as in the phrase cast a pall over). Pallor refers … [Read more...]

Misinformed vs. uninformed

Something that is misinformed is based on bad information. Something that is uninformed is based on no information or inadequate information. For example, a webpage on the difference between misinformed and uninformed would be uninformed if it were based on no research or experience, and it would be … [Read more...]

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