Premonitory vs promontory

  • Premonitory and promontory 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 premonitory and promontory, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    Premonitory is an adjective that describes something that bestows a warning or notification before an incident happens. Premonitory is the adjectival form of premonition and is derived from the Latin word praemonere, which means forewarn. Premonitory is an unusual word that is not often used in everyday English.


    A promontory is a high point of land that extends over a body of water or overlooks a lowland. Promontory is a noun that is derived from the Latin word, promunturium, which means mountain ridge.


    A newcomer to the thriller genre’s “vengeful nature” category, “Gaia” is a film of biblical proportions with sumptuous imagery and a premonitory tone.  (Michigan Daily)

    A premonitory energy, an inchoate awareness, powers us along like a perfectly modulated engine, barely audible but filling every line with tension, the tension of knowing we’re heading inexorably toward the unknown.  (New York Times)

    The three-story, Mediterranean villa-style house was built atop a private promontory with a private road leading up to the entryway. (New York Post)

    Med Sea Health S.A., the owner of the Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort, this week announced that it has received regulatory approval for the operation of a seaplane landing and take-off site at the Kanistro site, on the westernmost promontory of northern Halkidiki prefecture, reports. (Tornos News)

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