Easily Confused Words: Nosh vs. Knish

Nosh and knish are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Nosh (pronounced “nawsh”; rhymes with gosh, posh) is a verb. It means to snack, or snack on something between meals.

Knish (pronounced “nihsh”, alternative pronunciation “kuh-nihsh”; rhymes with fish, dish, wish) is a fried or baked cake of meat, sausage, potatoes, other vegetables, or a comobination of meat and vegetables. It comes from Poland, and can be found on the menus of Jewish delis in the US.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Knute had been trying to cut back on carbs, fat, and white colored foods in an effort to lose weight before the holidays. After weeks of dieting, though, he needed a break. He had a cheat day where he noshed on knishes, poutine, french fries, and cheese pizza.

 This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Niche vs. Knish

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Easily Confused Words: Sentient vs. Sentiment

Sentient and sentiment are easily confused words. By beginning with “sent-,” both words relate to the human mind and feelings.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Sentient (pronounced “sihn-tee-ihnt”) is an adjective. It describes someone possessing intelligence and sanity.

Sentiment (pronounced “sihn-tuh-mihnt”) is a noun. It means a thought, a viewpoint, a feeling.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Senona considered herself a sentient, logical person who wasn’t swayed by sappy movies or schmaltzy music. After losing her dog, though, she was unconsolable and the slightest things brought tears to her eyes. When she received a card and flowers from her coworker, Santiago, she was touched by the sentiment. It was so nice to know somebody cared. 

Easily Confused Words: Rook vs. Ruche

Rook and ruche are easily confused words. In American English, a “ch” sometimes bears a “k” sound, while others have a “sh” sound.  If the word is unfamiliar to you, it’s easy to guess wrong.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Rook (pronounced rook, rhymes with book, look, took) has multiple meanings.

As a noun:

  • In nature, this is a European crow, known for its ugly cry.
  • At cards and gambling, it can mean a cheat or a swindler.
  • In chess, this is traditionally the castle or turret-looking piece. It can be moved any number of empty squares on the board, horizontally or vertically.

As a verb, it means to cheat or swindle.

Ruche (pronounced “roosh”) is a noun. It’s a fashion word that comes from French, specifically a word used for beehives and tree bark. In fashion, it means a pleated or gathered piece of lace or other trim for a piece of clothing.

Today (2017, 21st century), ruche can appear on clothes, especially formal dresses. However, on casual clothes, “ruching” means pleated or gathering stitches. Often, it’s so the fabric drapes in form-fitting, or other eye-catching ways. Check out this post on craftsy for examples of ruching on handmade clothes. Vintage 1930s and some early 1940s women’s clothes in the US and Europe feature ruching on the bodice, the waist or hips.

Ruching is also used on bedspreads, duvets, and curtains.

The following story uses both words correctly:

As a rook cried outside her window and the daylight grew dim, Rilla finished stitching ruche on the hem of her dress. Tonight was the harvest dance, and her circle of girl friends would be here any minute. They had bought dresses from the store, but she had made something new out of one of her mom’s old gowns. She also borrowed some of her mother’s old shoes; thankfully they were the same size. She hoped she would have a fun time, and hoped no one would mock her handmade clothes.

She unrolled her pin curls, tousled her hair, and misted it with AquaNet. She put on some mascara and red lipstick, smiled satisfactorily at her reflection in the mirror, and headed out the door. 

 

Easily Confused Words: Billows vs. Bellows

Billows and bellows are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Billows (pronounced “bihl-ohs”) is a verb. It means when a thing or object sways or waves back and forth, typically in response to breezes, winds, and gusts. For example:

I sense there’s a storm coming. I saw the flag on the way in. It billows in strong gusts of wind.

Bellows (pronounced “behl-ohs”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to speak in a loud, baritone voice.
  • As a verb, it can also mean to cry or roar like large herbivores,  i.e., cows, elk, or buffalo.
  • As a noun, it means a device for pulling in, then expelling a large amount  of air. For example, the folded fabric part of an accordions, concertinas, and squeezeboxes is called “the bellows.” The bellows in an instrument acts like the diaphragm and lungs in the human body.

The following story uses both words correctly:

A motley band of radiologists, Belinda and the Bell Jars put on a captivating live show in Bellevue. Instead of pyrotechnics, the band had strategically placed blowers and fans, creating the effect of long hair that billows with the music as they played. Frontwoman Belinda bellowed in her contralto voice over unique arrangements of bass drums, bass guitar, accordions, bassoon, and alto-sax. The band made a point of incorporating rare and exotic instruments whenever they could to add to their distinctive, unforgettable sound.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Below vs. Bellow.

Easily Confused Words: Prehensile vs. Apprehensive

Prehensile and apprehensive are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Prehensile ( pronounced “pree-hihn-suhl”) is an adjective.

  • In biology, it describes appendages, like tails, that can grasp or take hold of something. Monkeys and gibbons have prehensile tails, while lemurs, raccoons and opossums do not.
  • In a more figurative sense, it describes someone’s mind as quick to catch on and grasp new ideas and concepts.
  • It can also describe someone self-interested and preoccupied with his/her own endless needs; a greedy person.

Apprehensive (pronounced “app-ree-hihn-sihv”) is a noun. It means feeling reluctant and anxious about taking a specific action.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Apollo went to the petting zoo with his class. Many of the children were excited to see animals, and even more excited to avoid schoolwork. Apollo, though, was apprehensive. He was scared of monkeys’ and their prehensile tails. He was worried one would grab him by the arm and not let go. When a guide walked around holding a monkey, he declined to pet its fur, even when he was assured it was okay. 

 

 

Easily Confused Words: Marginal vs. Managerial

Marginal and managerial are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Marginal (pronounced “marr-juhn-uhl”) is an adjective. It describes something that’s in the edges, aka, “margins,” in a document.

Figuratively, it describes something on the edge of society, a generation, a poll, or another grouping of people.

Managerial (pronounced “man-uh-jeer-ee-uhl”) is an adjective. It describes something relating to a position of authority.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Marjorie was on what’s called a glass cliff. She was promoted to a high position that demanded pulling off the impossible. Outside the company, it appeared she was doomed to failure and becoming another cautionary tale of promise unfulfilled.

The company was failing. Some of those who backed her appointment were presuming she’d experience marginal success at best. Long term, they expected she’d fail and lose her job. Instead, she defied expectations. She made the most of her position, invited input from her peers on how to revive the company. During her tenure, it performed better than ever before.

Easily Confused Words: Ale vs. Ail

Ale and ail are easily confused words. They are also homophones. This means they sound the same, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary, but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted, or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Ale (pronounced “ayl”; rhymes with whale, pale, male) is a noun. It means a type of beer, or fermented alcohol beverage made with hops, barley, and malt. Ales are fermented in warm brewing conditions, while lagers are fermented in cold brewing conditions.

There are a variety of ales on the market, including India Pale, Double India Pale, Brown, American Pale.

You can learn more about ales vs. lagers here.

Ail (pronounced “ayl”; rhymes with pail, fail, wail) is a verb. It means to experience suffering due to pain or illness.

  • A related adjective, ailing, describes a recurring or slowly declining problem in someone’s health.
  • A related noun, ailment, means a health problem.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Alistair was repairing his stone fence, then headed to the village pub for a pint.

“What’s new, Al?” asked Alexei the bartender. He poured Alistair’s pint of ale, then poured himself one.

“Had to fix the fence today. Thanks.”

“And you didn’t tear up your back?”

“I took my time, and didn’t overexert myself. It hasn’t ailed me yet. Cheers!” They clinked glasses.