Homophones and Homonyms

are words that sound like another when spoken but have different meanings and use, different spelling and origin.

Homonyms are words that are spelled like another but of a different meaning.
(e.g., bank= a place where you keep money,
bank= the edge of a river.

Words from the first group are the most common misused words in the English language when writing.

Most of the mistakes I see in writing on websites and blogs are words that are used quite often in the English language. Most of them fall into the homophones category. I see a lot of blogs that contain these common mistakes. Needless to say after a while I quit reading the blogs. So this is a reminder to all bloggers READ what you post and look for these common mistakes. I'm sure your readers will be very thankful.

I have been receiving emails with questions about oxymoron, euphemism, metaphor, cliche, palindrome,
anagram, and pleonasm.

The most frequent ones we see on the internet are usually OXYMORON. I know you have received (as all of us have) some ads/emails that say free loan, biggest little, and/or pretty ugly. I get a laugh every time I see these ads.

Well, my dear readers here are the answers to what each of these are.

oxymoron: a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in "cruel kindness"

euphemism: 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt. 2. the expression so substituted: "To pass away" is a euphemism for "to die."

metaphor: a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity, as in "love is a battlefield.

cliche': A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. For example: "One man’s trash is another man’s treasure."

palindrome: A word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward. For example: A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!

anagram: a word, phrase, or sentence formed from another by rearranging its letters: “Angel” is an anagram of “glean.”

pleonasm: 1. the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea; redundancy.
2. an instance of this, as free gift or true fact.
3. a redundant word or expression.

A little language humor

A little language humor

Word for the week: arachibutyrophobia

Learn a new word every week to expand your vocabulary.

Almost everyone likes peanut butter but there are some who suffer with arachibutyrophobia

rachibutyrophobia : fear of peanut butter sticking to roof of mouth

I don't think a Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists or a Mental Health Specialists
would ever use this word in front of a patient who has this phobia even if it is the correct word for their fear.

hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia... the fear of long words

Adj.; A subject of jest or mockery – This word describes a person, thing or situation that is likely to be the butt of jokes. Use it when you want to sound justified in poking fun at someone.
erotem: noun; The symbol used in writing known as a question mark...?
Phantomnation: "rare" noun; a perfect example of a ghost word--a word that exists only in a dictionary and has never actually been used.

neologism: noun ; coining of new words, new word or meaning

enormity: noun;heinousness, evilness, wickedness, monstrous, great size

abscond: verb; to run away and hide, depart hurriedly, avoid arrest.

samizdat: noun; clandestine publication of banned literature

anomaly: noun; something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified; deviation from the normal or common order, or form, or rule; a person who is unusual

obfuscate: verb; To make something obscure or hard to understand. ( Like the tax codes)

quintessence: noun; purest and most perfect form, manifestation, type, or embodiment

Lipogram: noun; A piece of writing that avoids one or more letters of the alphabet. From Greek lipo- (lacking) + gram (something written).]

triskaidekaphobia: noun; Fear of the number 13.

anomalous: adjective; irregular, deviant, abnormal

diatribe: noun; a bitter verbal attack or speech

ennui: noun; mental weariness, boredom

aficionado: noun; devotee of a sport or pastime

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lose and Loose

Lose /verb/ unable to find, be deprived of or cease to have

Loose is a homonym and it can be used as a verb or an adjective.

Loose /adjective/ not tight,free from bounds or restraints.

Loose /verb/ to let go, release

Did you lose your necklace?

It was a loose fitting vest.

Let the dogs loose to track the fox.


Karlonia said...

I'm not so sure that I would classify lose and loose as homonyms -- in lose the s is pronounced with a z sound, while loose retains a normal s sound, so there is a noticeable difference in pronunciation.

Nevertheless, it is funny to see how many people mix these up. I have lost count of the number of blogs that I have seen where people are writing about how they want to "loose" weight. Just for fun, sometimes I will reply and ask them if they're sure that they would actually prefer this to tightening their weight :)

Meanwhile, I have covered the lose vs. loose issue in greater detail on my main blog at Karlonia.com.

Shirley said...

So sad that you do not agree with the classification but we have to accept it as it is written. Ask any English teacher or professor of English and you will find that even though they are sometimes pronounced different loose and lose are clasified as homonyms in our English language.

Lynn said...

Sorry, but I am an English instructor and have to agree with Karlonia. Lose and Loose are not pronounced the same, and thus are not homonyms. Certainly, they are often confused and many teachers list them when defining these types of words. However, the definition itself precludes them from the technical classification as homonyms.
Dr. L. Sullivan

Shirley said...

Loose and lose have always been classified as homonyms. Maybe you should ask a University professor or look for a list of homonyms at your local schools or University. Here is where you can get the best information regarding these two words.
GEORGIA Southern University
Writing and Linguistics Dept.
Statesboro, Ga. 30460
Phone: 912-478-0739
Fax: 912-478-0783

or visit
Copy, Editing, Grammar @ Suite 101

Please let me know where you are getting your information from so I can correct this entry on my blog IF it is wrong.