Ocher or ochre vs okra

  • Ocher or ochre and okra are words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables ocher or ochre and okra, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    Ocher and ochre are different spellings of the same word, referring to a natural earth pigment made from a clay; ocher or ochre is a mixture of sand, clay, and ferric oxide. Art materials with ocher or ochre pigment range in color from yellow to orange to brown. Colors produced by this pigment are also called ocher or ochre: yellow ocher or yellow ochre is a hydrated iron hydroxide also known as limonite; red ocher or red ochre contains anhydrous iron oxide, also known as hematite; purple ocher or purple ochre also contains anhydrous iron oxide, but retains a different hue because the particles are larger; brown ocher or brown ochre contains partly hydrated iron oxide. Sienna and umber pigments, including burnt sienna and burnt umber, also contain manganese oxide, which makes these pigments darker than ocher. These colored pigments produce earth colors and tones that are essential to the artist’s paint palette, whether the painter works in watercolor, tempera, acrylic, or oil paints. The word ocher or ochre is derived from the Greek word, khra, which means pale yellow.


    Okra is a plant that produces long seed pods that are fried, boiled, stewed, baked, or stir-fried and eaten as a vegetable. The word okra is derived from a West African word, though it is not known which one.


    Now submerged caves in the Yucatán Peninsula contain remains of ocher-mining operations that date back at least 10,000 years. (Scientific American)

    Murals are painted in quiet, muted tones—soft avocado, rich ochre, or light cornflower blue—but each project is unique, and is designed in collaboration with the client. (Architectural Digest)

    Those using fiber supplements like psyllium husks should consider getting better cholesterol and blood-sugar management from okra at a much cheaper price. (Grand Island Independent)

    Okra, also known as ladies’ fingers and by the botanical name Abelmoschus esculentus, is a herbaceous hairy annual plant of the mallow family. (The Guardian)

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