Futile vs feudal

  • Futile and feudal 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 futile and feudal, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    Futile is an adjective that describes something that is purposeless, ineffective, or pointless. The adverb form is futilely and the noun form is futility. The word futile is derived from the Latin word futilis, meaning in vain or worthless.


    Feudal is an adjective that describes something related to the medieval feudalism system in which landholders provided land to cultivate and protection to vassals in exchange for a share of the vassals’ income and their military loyalty. Feudal is often used in a broader sense to describe something that is outdated or old-fashioned. The word feudal is derived from the basic medieval word feud, which was an estate; the term was derived from the Latin word feudum, which means land grant.


    “First of all, that is futile, as a reliable and sustainable resolution of problems is possible only through agreements between all parties involved, while the entire current logic of the US policy is set on making Iran the focus of all containment and punishment efforts, with regime change being presented as the only thing that would let the whole region breathe freely,” Lavrov said, stressing, “That is a dead end.” (Mehr News Agency)

    “We will not engage in a futile exercise aimed at diverting the attention of management and key resources from our business operations while creating friction among our stakeholders,” he said. (Bloomberg News)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed “feudal” customs and the “red beacon culture” to transform governance which perturbed those who regarded “circumambulation in the corridors of power” as their strength, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Friday. (The Tribune India)

    But in a new revelation, an experience in Japan has now just come to light, offering visitors the opportunity to stay at the historic Ozu Castle, the historic site once inhabited by feudal warlords hundreds of years ago. (GQ Australia Magazine)

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