Homophones

Cay, quay and key

A cay is a naturally occurring low island, either a sandbar or a coral reef. Cay is most often applied to Caribbean islands, the preferred pronunciation is “key” Cay comes from the Spanish word, cayo, which means key. Its first use to refer to an island occurred in 1707. Key also may refer to a naturally occurring low island, either a sandbar or a coral reef. Key is most often applied to Caribbean islands. Key also comes from the Spanish …

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Hole vs whole

A hole is (1.) a cavity, a hollowed-out place (2.) an opening passing through an object (3.) an animal burrow (4.) in the United States, a hole may be a cove or small bay (5.) a cylindrical cup sunk into a golf green in which a ball is to be hit, or hole may refer to one of the eighteen distinct sections of a regulation golf course (5.) a small, dingy, squalid room or house. Hole may be used as …

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Currant vs current

A currant is a small dried fruit which is raisin-like, made from a Mediterranean grape, the zante. A currant is also a berry from a currant shrub such as a blackcurrant, redcurrant or whitecurrant. They are often used in baking and in jellies and jams. Currant comes from the mid-fourteenth century term raysyn of Curans, literally raisins of Corinth, referring to the zante. In the 1570s currant was also applied to the Northern European berry. Current is a flow of water …

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Border vs boarder

A border is a demarcation line which separates two geographic or political areas. A border may also refer to an edge or margin, often ornamental, such as a strip of flowers or bushes that grows along a house, garden or property line. Border may also act as a transitive verb, which takes an object, to describe providing an edge or boundary. As an instransitive verb, which takes no object, border describes something which is adjacent to another thing. Border may …

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Moat vs mote

A moat is a broad, deep ditch that is dug around a castle or other fortress as a defense against attack. Usually, a moat is filled with water. Moat may also be used as a transitive verb, meaning to surround something in the fashion of a moat. Castles or other fortresses that are surrounded by moats usually have a drawbridge that is lowered to allow friendly visitors to cross the moat and go inside. Moat comes from the fourteenth century …

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Vary vs very

When used as a transitive verb, vary means differ in size, amount or appearance, to make different from another, to bestow variety. When vary is used as an intransitive verb it means to be differentiated or diversified, to change something, to turn it into something less uniform. Related words are varies, varied, varying and varyingly. Vary comes from the Latin varius, which means diverse. Very is an intensifier, an adverb or adjective used for emphasis. It means to a high degree. …

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Click vs clique

A click is (1.) a quick, sharp sound, (2.) the act of pressing the button on a computer mouse, (3.) two people becoming suddenly attracted to each other, (4.) two or more people coming together to work successfully, (5.) to become understandable, in a flash. Click may be used as a verb or an adjective, related words are clicks, clicked and clicking. Click is considered an echoic word, but it is also associated with the Middle English clike, which is …

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Sleight vs slight

Sleight is a noun that means the use of skill or dexterity. Sleight is an archaic word. For the most part, the word sleight is only seen in the phrase sleight of hand, which refers to the ability of a magician to deceive the eye and perform conjuring tricks. The phrase sleight of hand may also refer to a skillful deception, of any sort. Sleight comes from the Old Norse word slaegth, which means sly. Slight means an inconsequential amount, …

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