Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Iniquity vs. Ubiquity

Iniquity and ubiquity 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.

Iniquity (pronounced “ihn-ick-kwihtty”) is a noun. It means something possessing qualities of wickedness, debauchery, or sinfulness. For example, the seven deadly sins are a short list of iniquities: gluttony, greed, envy, lust, sloth, wrath, and pride.

Ubiquity (prnounced “”yoo-bih-kwihtty”) is a noun. It means something that is ever-present or widely available.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Initially during Rumspringa, Uriah expected iniquities around every corner in the outside world. Growing up, it had always been presented as a ubiquity, and a hard to resist one, at that. But now that he was experiencing it for himself, it wasn’t all that bad. And the opportunities were bigger. If anything was proving hard to resist and head back to the community, it was fear of missing out on that.

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Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Ocarina vs. Ochre

Ocarina and ochre are easily confused words.

Ocarina (pronounced “awk-uh-ree-nah”) is a musical instrument. It is elliptical, with a mouth hole atop a conical neck, and a series of tone holes on the body. The player gently blows into the mouth hole while alternating their fingers and thumbs over the tone holes.

Ocarinas can be made from porcelain or plastic. Check out this video of someone playing a theme from Legend of Zelda on an ocarina.

Ochre (pronounced “oak-uhr”) is a noun. It is an earth-tone yellow color. It doesn’t come up in every day conversation, but it is used in oil painting.

The following story uses both words correctly:

For their acoustic ensemble, The Goldenrods, Ockham and his bandmates chose to wear ochre-toned tunics that resembled the 1500s fashions. When everyone dressed the same, people could focus on the sounds of the ocarina, the bodhran, and the acoustic guitar.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Okra vs. Ochre.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Arcane vs. Arcade

Arcane and arcade 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.

Arcane (pronounced “arr-kayn;” rhymes with disdain, explain, insane) is an adjective. It describes something old and out of date, something that’s obsolete.

Arcade (pronounced “arr-kayd;” rhymes with dismayed) is a noun.

  • In architecture, it means a series of adjoining arches. There’s a list of these here.
    • In historic cities of the US, arcades were a hallway of stores & offices, a new trend in urban planning that flourished from 1890s-1930s. Here are some of the cities that have historic arcades:
    • In the 1970-90s, this could mean a room or hall of coin or token operated video game consoles. Pinball machines and merchandisers (one of many items encased in glass can be “grabbed” by robotically controlled arms within a short timeframe) also fit in this machine category. Sometimes these spaces are called penny arcades.

The following story uses both words correctly:

For Arkin, relating and using analogies was an easy way to relate to students as a young teacher. Twenty years into the job, though, this “relating” was getting harder. Students were finding his references to arcade video games and other 1980s culture to be arcane. They also seemed more indifferent to school than he recalled being at that age. It was time for new strategies to make the material engaging.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Flamingo vs. Flamenco

Flamingo and flamenco 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.

Flamingo (pronounced “fluh-mihng-oh”) is a wading bird known for its bright salmon colored feathers, long legs, and short, hooked beak. Flamingos filter feed off the ocean or swamp floor. Some shellfish they eat give their feathers that brilliant salmon hue. Birds that eat less of these creatures have less brilliant feathers. Check out a video of a mating procession here.

Flamingos are not native to the US* or Europe, but they have caught people’s imagination in these places for a long time.

  • Some Americans have plastic ones in the yard for decoration. These were introduced in 1957.
  • It’s not unusual to see flamingo shapes and patterns used on clothes, furniture, and products for spring and summer.
  • Flamingos were used as croquet clubs in the Lewis Carroll classic “Alice in Wonderland.”
  • English pop singer Dua Lipa featured flamingos in her 2017 “New Rules” video and does a flamingo-inspired dance with the other women in it.

Flamenco (pronounced “fluh-mihn-koh”/”flah-MEEn-koh”) is a native dance associated with southern Spain. While an acoustic guitar plays, a dancer claps, spins, and makes syncopated steps and stomps. Simultaneously, their arms are making dramatic gestures, snapping, or playing castanets (a percussion instrument of two wooden shells that are clapped together in one hand). Female dancers usually wear ruffled gowns and fringed scarves that accentuate the drama of their movements. Check out a video here.

Flamenco can be found in some former Spanish colonies of Central and South America, but these countries also have other dances their known for that come from indigenous traditions and large immigrant groups, like the Italians in Argentina. Check out more about those dances here and here.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Every year coming up with new ways to spark public interest and produce sellout shows was a challenge. Artistic Director Phyllidia Peterson thought the next season’s opening ballet company show could incorporate wildlife inspirations in the costuming while the dance styles would show global influence.

“I’m not going to be an ostrich doing ballet like Fantasia am I?”

“No. And no swans. The goal is to dazzle people, show them something new. It can’t be predictable or something they’ve seen before. Why should them come here if they’ve seen it before? So if we have flamingos, they’ll do the samba. Maybe we’ll have some hoopoes do a flamenco inspired dance. Ticket sales need to have an environmental charity donation.”

*=A colony was imported to Hialeah Park, Florida, where it still exists today.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Shrub vs. Shrug

Shrub and shrug 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.

Shrub (pronounced “sh-ruhb;” rhymes with flub, club, cub) is a noun.

It can mean:

  • Another word for a bush, or a leafy plant that grows close to the ground that is often used in landscaping. Shrubs typically receive more pruning than bushes.
  • In bartending, it can mean a type of cocktail syrup made with fruit, sugar, vinegar and herbs. After a fermentation period, it was poured into water and drank for refreshment. Calling it a shrub comes from sharab, “to drink,” in Arabic language. Given the recent beer and cocktail revolution of the 2000s, there’s a renewed interest in historic cocktails and recipes.

Shrug (pronounced “sh-ruhg;” rhymes with bug, plug, dug) has multiple meanings.

  • As a noun, in fashion, it means a cardigan or jacket with a hem just above the waist. It’s similar to a bolero (a jacket worn by matadors). A shrug’s sleeves can be long or short.
  • As a verb, it means to raise one’s shoulders in unison to indicate unawareness, ignorance, or confusion on an issue he/she has been asked about.
  • In the phrase “shrug off,” it means to let go of about a problem or issue and move forward with one’s life.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Shrey shrugged when his mother, Sarita, asked if he wanted to help her make shrubs for holiday gifts this year. He said nothing, and he just stared at the table.

“What’s the matter? Usually you are pretty excited to help in the kitchen.

” I didn’t make quiz bowl captain. The new girl, Safiyaa, got it.”

“I’m sorry, son. I know you wanted that role. But will you make an effort to be friends with this girl anyway?”

“Yes, mom.”

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Eyelash vs. Islay

Eyelash and Islay 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.

Eyelash (pronounced “eye-lash”) is a noun. It means the hairs growing out of a mammal’s upper and lower eyelids.

Islay (pronounced “eye-luh”) is a proper noun. It means an island off the West coast of Scotland.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Effie would miss the sound of the ocean. But there was too much work to do to keep looking backward. They were now some 3800 miles from her native Islay.

She plucked a fallen eyelash from her cheek, made a wish, and blew it away. She made a wish for prosperity and good health here in their new country.

Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Abyss vs. Ibis

Abyss and Ibis 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.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Abyss (pronounced “uh-bihss”; rhymes with amiss) is a noun.

  • It can refer to a great expanse, gulf, chasm, or the universe. Something tangible or perceivable that is infinite and immeasurable.
  • More figuratively, it can refer to infinity of time.
  • Historically, it can refer to bodies of water underground or in the deepest depths of the ocean. It can mean how Christians describe the state of the world before their creation story begins: in a dark and hellish state.

Ibis (pronounced “eye-bihss”) is a noun. It means a wading shorebird with skinny scaled legs, long necks, and a long slender beak that arcs downward from their face. Ibises are larger than ducks, but shorter than cranes and flamingos.

Ibises tend to travel and graze in small groups in shallow water and in grasses. They can be found almost anywhere in subtropical and tropical climates, near marshes, swamps, and sources of freshwater. In suburban areas, they can be spotted on golf courses and freshly watered grasses.

The following story uses both words correctly:

In her Jon boat, Abilene canoed into the foggy abyss of a winter morning on the Ibbesossa swamp. It was three weeks in to her photo assignment, she was running out of time to capture images of all the creatures she wanted. Today would hopefully be the day she could get a shot of the elusive black ibis.

[Ibbesossa is not a real place, but this link takes you to an ibis video on Youtube.]