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Braise, brays, or braze

  • Braise, brays, and braze are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. 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 threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. 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. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words braise, brays and braze, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    Braise is a cooking term that means to brown something and then stew it slowly in liquid until it is cooked. The word braise is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Sometimes, braise is used as a noun to mean a dish that has been cooked by braising. Related words are braises, braised, braising. The word braise is derived from the French word, braise, which means to stew over live coals.

    Brays is the plural noun or third person singular form of the word bray, which is the harsh sound that a donkey or mule makes or the act of producing the sound. Bray is also used to describe a particularly loud and obnoxious laugh emitted by a human. Bray is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object; related words are bray, brayed, braying. The word brays is derived from the old French word, braire, meaning to cry out.

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    Braze means to solder something with brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc. Braze is a transitive verb; related words are brazes, brazed, brazing. The word braze is derived from the French word, braser, which means to solder.

    Examples

    That’s a savings of nearly $300 on a Dutch oven that will sear, sauté, fry, roast, braise and cook meats, veggies, stews, breads and more to perfection… and truly, what more could a home chef ask for? (USA Today)

    The birds are known, as well, as “black-footed penguins” and “jackass penguins,” the latter due to sounds they make similar to a donkey’s brays. (Newsweek)

    Even if the repair procedures for the auto aftermarket do differ from the factory joining — you probably don’t have a laser brazing robot on hand — the discussion during the May 19 Great Designs in Steel still might offer repairers insight into trends related to both. (Repairer Driven News)


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