Shake vs sheikh

Shake and sheikh 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 shake and sheikh, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Shake may be used as a verb to mean to tremble or perform quick, jerky movements because of strong emotion, a physical problem, or being cold. Shake may also mean grasping someone or something and rapidly applying quick, jerky movements either in anger, to bring someone to his senses, or to get his attention. Shake is also used figuratively, as in to shake things up, which means to make radical changes in an organization, system, or protocol. Shake may mean to shake hands to seal an agreement. Related words are shakes, shaken, shook, shaking. Shake is also used as a noun to mean the act of shaking something or someone, the act of shaking hands, or it may be an abbreviation of the word milk shake. The word shake is derived from the Old English word sceacan, which means to rapidly move something back and forth.

A sheikh is an Arab or Muslim leader, the head of a tribe or village, or a venerated religious leader. The word sheikh is derived from the Arabic word, shaykh, which literally means old man. A variant spelling is sheik.


USGS characterizes strengths below 2.5 as akin to the shake of a big truck going past. (The Charleston Post Courier)

Put simply: Our everyday lives are changing before our eyes, and we all have been shaken to the core. (The Worcester Telegram)

“People in China found another way to greet since they can’t shake hands,” wrote one user alongside a video of the “Wuhan Shake.” (The New York Post)

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has promoted Dubai Police chief Abdullah Al Marri. (The National)

“The hard time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to get stronger than before,” Sheikh Mohamed told a number of Sheikhs, ministers and officials at Qasr Al Bahr Majlis. (The Khaleej Times)

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