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Polish vs polish

  • The words Polish and polish are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. Heteronyms exist because of our ever-changing English language, and these words with the same spelling and different pronunciation and meaning are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that look the same and are easily confused. The way the pronunciations and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word tear meaning a liquid drop that falls from an eye is derived from the Old English word tear, meaning a drop or nectar; tear meaning to pull apart comes from the Old English word tearan, which means to lacerate. Heteronyms are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced differently but are spelled the same and come from a different etymology. When reading, it is sometimes difficult to know what word is being used in a sentence and how to pronounce the word phonetically. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check for these commonly confused words but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a heteronym in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Do not confuse heteronyms with homophones, which are two or more words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings; do not confuse them with homonyms, which are words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings. We will examine the definitions of the words Polish and polish, where these words came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    Polish (poh-lish) means someone who is from Poland or whose ancestors were from Poland. Polish may also mean something related to the country of Poland, such as the language, customs, or decorations. The word Polish is derived from the word Pole, meaning someone from Poland, and -ish, which means a native of a country. Pole has been used since the 1650s to refer to someone from the area of Poland. Note that Polish is capitalized because it is a proper adjective, which is an adjective derived from a proper noun.

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    Polish (paw-lish) means to make something shiny by rubbing it or to make something smooth by sanding it. The word polish is also used figuratively to mean to make something the best it can be, like one’s resume or one’s sales pitch. The word polish is used as a noun or a verb, related words are polishes, polished, polishing. The word polish is derived from the Latin word polire, which means to embellish, to refine, to smooth.

    Examples

    The film describes the arrival of Polish immigrants to Chicago, which became the largest center of Polish culture outside of Poland itself. (The Mendota Reporter)

    I’ve kept my version a bit more simple, replacing the hot dogs with smoked Polish sausage, the Spam (no thanks) with ham, and omitted the baked beans and American cheese which can also sometimes feature. (The Irish Times)

    Anyway, try sanding it lightly to remove the burn and then shine it up it with some car or furniture polish. (The Colorado Springs Gazette)

    Polish your resume and make sure you are describing your skills and the projects you have worked on in a technical setting. (FIU News)


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