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Glare vs glair

  • Glare and glair are are two 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 glare and glair, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.



     

    Glare used as a noun may mean 1.) a bright, dazzling light, especially when it reflects off a mirror or metal surface; 2.) a hard, angry, intense look. Glare used as a verb may mean 1.) to emit a bright, dazzling light; 2.) to stare at someone in a hard, angry, intense manner. Related words are glares, glared, glaring. The word glare is derived from the Old English word glær.

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    Glair is a substance made from egg white. It is often used as a glue in bookbinding or in mixed drinks. The word glair is derived from the Latin word claria, referring to the white of an egg. Most often, the word glair is seen in common usage as a misspelling.

    Examples

    Screen burn: why the glare from your computer could be ageing your skin (The Guardian)

    The lenses are “100 percent UV category three,” which means they block out glare and filter all UV light that comes through to protect your eyes. (New York Magazine)

    Gold powder was often mixed with glair, that is to say an egg white for binding, or perhaps gum, and then buffed with either a tooth or a stone to give it that stunning gilded sheen. (Forbes Magazine)

    For tequila lovers, the complex Mekishiko Negroni uses Espolon Blanco tequila, Campari, sweet vermouth infused with umeboshi (pickled Japanese plums), lemon juice, egg glair, and bamboo salt. (The Miami New Times)


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