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Mewl vs mule

  • Mewl and mule 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 mewl and mule, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    Mewl means to cry faintly, like a weak infant or a small kitten. To mewl is to make a sound like a whimper. Mewl is an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are mewls, mewled, mewling. The word mewl came into use around 1600 and is an imitative word.

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    A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Usually sterile, a mule is known to be strong and stubborn. Mule is often used to mean a person who is stubborn. Mule is also used to mean the result of crossbreeding in other species; the result is usually sterile. Mule is also a type of shoe that has an open heel. Mule is also a slang term for someone carrying illegal contraband for another, like drugs or drug money. The word mule is derived from the Latin word, mulus, which means a mule.

    Examples

    Last month U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber signed on to an attempt to invalidate the votes of millions of Americans and overturn a free and fair election, and then last week in MinnPost had the gall to mewl about “process” and “politicization” when it comes to protecting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) from the threat of sulfide-ore copper mining. (Minnesota Post)

    What everyone needs right now – besides booze and Valium – is some good reading to keep the droplet monster at bay and the mewl of isolation softened to a purr of contentment. (Durango Telegraph)

    The 100-year-old Little House at 17 Oak Ave. in Rehoboth Beach may not have had the pedigree of the 100-year-old, du Pont-built Shell House to the south, but its history does include mule rides on the beach and one of the founders of the Rehoboth Art League. (Cape Gazette)

    I tried to have a civil conversation with a gentleman driving the 2500 heavy-duty diesel version of my still-gargantuan 1500 Sierra, but it appeared he was a drug mule — which explained his jacked-up suspension and blackened windows — so I walked away slowly, left to consider my own truck. (Summit Daily)


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