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Lair vs layer

  • Lair and layer are two words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing. 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. 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. We will examine the definitions of the words lair and layer, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.


     

    A lair is the den of a wild animal, the place where a wild animal sleeps and eats. Lair is also used somewhat figuratively to mean somewhere a person hides or lives in a seclusion, a refuge. Often the word lair, when used in connection to a human being, carries a connotation of nefariousness, of hiding something because one is a criminal or is engaging in illegal or immoral behavior. In Scotland, the word lair may mean to sink in mud or slush. In New Zealand, the word lair is a term for a man dressed in an ostentatious manner. The word lair is derived from the proto-German word legraz, which means resting place or couch.

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    Layer has several different definitions. First, layer may refer to a sheet or thickness of something, such as a layer of of icing in a cake. This definition may be used as a noun or a verb, meaning to arrange something in layers. Layer may also refer to a means of propagating plants in which a shoot is anchored to the soil while it is still attached to the parent plant. This definition of layer may also be used as a noun or a verb, to mean to propagate a plant in this manner. Finally, layer may be used to mean someone or something that lays something, such as a hen that is an egg-layer. The word layer is derived from the Old English word legcan which means to place something on the ground. Related words are layers, layered, layering.

    Examples

    Sue, the largest, most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed, gets to show off its new lair this week at the Field Museum in Chicago. (Reuters)

    I wanted to put them in Newman’s lair because they looked a bit disreputable for the living room, but you have no idea how hard it is to find reputable smallish swivel rocker recliners. (The Telegram)

    ‘It’s a dark piece of land’: Grieving mom DEMOLISHES farmhouse lair of pervert murderer who killed her daughter after holding her in a secret sex torture chamber hidden by hay bales on his dilapidated family estate (The Daily Mail)

    He was carefully working a patch of dirt with his shovel, skimming the surface to take off layers an eighth-inch thick at a time when his shovel clinked against something. (The Citizens’ Voice)

    Recently, a few research groups have replaced the insulator with graphene, an atom-thick layer of carbon that’s inexpensive to mass produce and has unique properties that might enable faster, more efficient computation. (MIT News)

    In previous research, the same immune support product used in the Arkansas broiler breeder study showed improved nutrient utilisation and egg deposition in layer hens as a result of improved intestinal villi development. (Poultry World)

     


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