Pore, pour or poor

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A pore is a tiny opening in a surface through which gases, liquids or microscopic particles may pass. Skin has pores. As a verb, pore means to study or closely examine something, often a book, map or document. Pore, meaning a tiny opening, appears in the fourteenth century from the Latin word, porus. As early as the thirteenth century, pore is used as a verb meaning gaze intently.

To pour means to stream steadily or to cause liquid in a container to steam steadily into another container, to portion out and serve a drink, to flow freely. Related words are pours, poured, pouring, pourable, pourer. The origin of the word pour is unclear, perhaps from the Old French purer meaning to sift, to pour out.

Poor means to not have sufficient money to live at a minimal standard. Poor also means less than desirable, substandard, not executed in a satisfactory fashion, disappointing, deserving of pity. The word poor appears in the English language in about 1200 from the Old French word povre meaning poor, wretched, dispossessed, inadequate, weak. The pronunciations of pore, pour and poor sound very similar, in some accents they are indistinguishable.


The fact is, the effectiveness of pore strips varies on an individual basis and they don’t do anything to prevent acne or blackheads (The Brampton Guardian)

Teachers get paid extra for running those classes, but not for regularly staying late to collaborate, plan or pore over student data. (The San Jose Mercury News)

Pour milk, cottage cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, dry mustard and ground nutmeg into the bowl of a blender and pulse until thoroughly combined. (The Kansas City Star)

It would then pour that money into beefing up the office’s resources in order to speed up the approval process, which has been copping investor criticism recently. (The New Zealand Herald)

Banks in developing countries often won’t lend to the poor, because they have no credit, or they will only lend at prohibitively high rates, making it so that many people can never break out of the cycle of poverty. (The Smithsonian Magazine)

Bush is looking to recover during the debate in Milwaukee from what he, supporters and donors agree was a poor performance in Boulder, Colorado, on Oct. 28, when he hoped to break out with a show of aggressiveness but ended up looking awkward in a tangle with a nimbler rival, Marco Rubio. (U.S. News & World Report)