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Following is the list of confusing words that we have covered so far in our CAT
CBT Club Verbal Forum. We have compiled the list of words along with their
meanings. All the meanings and usages have been picked up from
Dictionary.Com. Take the print out of this file and learn the words by rote. Do
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1. adverse / averse
2. ensure/ insure
3. grisly/ grizzly
4. naval/navel
5. incredulous/ incredible
6. appraise/ apprise
7. bought/ brought
8. amend/ emend
9. isle/ aisle
10. eery/ aerie
11. adjoin/ adjourn
12. arc/ ark
13. allusion/ illusion
14. consecutive/ concurrent
15. emigrate/ immigrate
16. disinterested/ uninterested
17. illicit/ elicit
18. denote/ connote
19. cask/casque
20. axil/ axle
21. acetic/ ascetic
22. troupe/troop
23. continuous/continual
24. principal/principle
25. plaintive/plaintiff
26. ordnance/ordinance
27. arrant/ errant
28. eminent/imminent
29. doer/dour
30. dissent/descent
31. credible/credulous
32. definite/definitive
33. discrete/discreet
34. creek/creak

1. adverse / averse -
The adjectives adverse and averse are related both etymologically and semantically, each having opposition
as a central sense. Adverse is seldom used of people but rather of effects or events, and it usually conveys a
sense of hostility or harmfulness: adverse reviews; adverse winds; adverse trends in the economy. Related
nouns are adversity and adversary: Adversities breed bitterness. His adversaries countered his every move.
Averse is used of persons and means feeling opposed or disinclined; it often occurs idiomatically with a
preceding negative to convey the opposite meaning willing or agreeable, and is not interchangeable with
adverse in these contexts: We are not averse to holding another meeting. The related noun is aversion: She
has a strong aversion to violence. Averse is usually followed by to, in older use occasionally by from.

2. ensure/ insure :
Ensure is a verb meaning
1. to secure or guarantee: This letter will ensure you a hearing.
2. to make sure or certain: measures to ensure the success of an undertaking.
3. to make secure or safe, as from harm.

Insure: to guarantee against loss or harm.
verb (used without object)
To issue or procure an insurance policy.

3. grisly/ grizzly- Grizzly is a bear- Grizzly bear.
Grisly is an adjective meaning causing a shudder or feeling of horror; horrible; gruesome: a grisly murder.

4. naval/navel
naval is an adjective meaning:
1. of or pertaining to ships of all kinds: naval architecture; naval engineer.
2. belonging to, pertaining to, or connected with a navy: naval affairs.

Navel is a noun meaning bellybutton or the central point or middle of any thing or place.

5.incredulous/ incredible
Incredulous is an adjective meaning
1. Skeptical; disbelieving: incredulous of stories about flying saucers.
2. Expressive of disbelief: an incredulous stare.

Incredible is an adjective meaning
1. So implausible as to elicit disbelief: gave an incredible explanation of the cause of the accident.
2. Astonishing: dressed with incredible speed.

6. appraise/ apprise
apprise is a verb (used with object), meaning to give notice to; inform; advise (often fol. by of): to be
apprised of the death of an old friend.

appraise is a verb (used without an object), meaning
1. To evaluate, especially in an official capacity. We had an expert appraise the house before we bought it.
2. To estimate the quality, amount, size, and other features of; judge. He tried to appraise the poetry of
John Updike.

7. bought/ brought
bought- buy
brought- bring

8. amend/ emend:
Emend means to improve by critical editing: emend a faulty text.

Amend is a verb (used with object), meaning
to alter, modify, rephrase, or add to or subtract from (a motion, bill, constitution, etc.) by formal procedure:
Congress may amend the proposed tax bill.
to change for the better; improve: to amend one's ways.


9. isle/ aisle
Isle is noun meaning small island.
Aisle is a noun meaning a walkway between or along sections of seats in a theater, classroom, or the like.

10. eery/ aerie

eerie is an adjective meaning uncanny, so as to inspire superstitious fear; weird: an eerie midnight howl.
aerie is a noun meaning
1. the nest of a bird of prey, as an eagle or a hawk.
2. a house, fortress, or the like, located high on a hill or mountain.

11. adjoin/ adjourn
adjoin is a verb (used with object) meaning

1. to be close to or in contact with; abut on: His property adjoins the lake.

adjourn is verb (used with object) meaning
1. to suspend the meeting of (a club, legislature, committee, etc.) to a future time, another place, or
indefinitely: to adjourn the court.
2. to defer or postpone to a later time: They adjourned the meeting until the following Monday.

12. arc/ ark
Arc is anything that is bow shaped.

Ark is a noun meaning
1. (sometimes initial capital letter) Also called Noah's Ark. the large boat built by Noah in which he saved
himself, his family, and a pair of every kind of creature during the Flood. Gen. 69.
2. Also called ark of the covenant. a chest or box containing the two stone tablets inscribed with the Ten
Commandments, carried by the Israelites in their wanderings in the desert after the Exodus: the most sacred
object of the tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem, where it was kept in the holy of holies.
3. a place of protection or security; refuge; asylum.

13. allusion/ illusion
allusion is a noun meaning
1. a passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication: an
allusion to Shakespeare.

illusion is a noun meaning

1. An erroneous perception of reality.
2. The condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief.

14. consecutive/ concurrent
consecutive is an adjective meaning
1. following one another in uninterrupted succession or order; successive: six consecutive numbers, such as
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
2. marked by logical sequence.

concurrent is an adjective meaning
1. occurring or existing simultaneously or side by side: concurrent attacks by land, sea, and air.
2. acting in conjunction; cooperating: the concurrent efforts of several legislators to pass the new law.

15. emigrate/ immigrate
emigrate is a verb (used without object) meaning
to leave one country or region to settle in another; migrate: to emigrate from Ireland to Australia.

immigrate is a verb (used without object)
to come to a country of which one is not a native, usually for permanent residence.


16. disinterested/ uninterested
Disinterested and uninterested share a confused and confusing history. Disinterested was originally used to
mean not interested, indifferent; uninterested in its earliest use meant impartial. By various
developmental twists, disinterested is now used in both senses. Uninterested is used mainly in the sense not
interested, indifferent. It is occasionally used to mean not having a personal or property interest.
Many object to the use of disinterested to mean not interested, indifferent. They insist that disinterested can
mean only impartial: A disinterested observer is the best judge of behavior. However, both senses are well
established in all varieties of English, and the sense intended is almost always clear from the context.

17. illicit/ elicit
elicit is used as a verb (used with object)
to draw or bring out or forth; educe; evoke: to elicit the truth; to elicit a response with a question.

illicit is an adjective meaning not legally permitted or authorized; unlicensed; unlawful.

18. denote/ connote
Denote and connote are often confused because both words have senses that entail signification. Denote
means "to signify directly or literally" and describes the relation between the word and the thing it
conventionally names. Connote means "to signify indirectly, suggest or imply" and describes the relation
between the word and the images or associations it evokes. Thus, the word river denotes a moving body of
water and may connote such things as the relentlessness of time and the changing nature of life.

19. cask/casque
cask is a noun meaning
1. a container made and shaped like a barrel, esp. one larger and stronger, for holding liquids.
2. the quantity such a container holds: wine at 32 guineas a cask.

casque is a noun meaning
1. an open, conical helmet with a nose guard, commonly used in the medieval period.
2. any helmet-shaped head covering.

20. axil/ axle
axil is the angle between the upper side of a leaf or stem and the stem or branch that supports it. A bud is
usually found in the axil.
axle is the pin, bar, shaft, or the like, on which or by means of which a wheel or pair of wheels rotates.

21. acetic/ aescetic
acetic is an adjective meaning pertaining to, derived from, or producing vinegar or acetic

ascetic is
1. a person who dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial
or self-mortification for religious reasons.
2. a person who leads an austerely simple life, esp. one who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or
denies himself or herself material satisfaction.

22. troupe/troop
troupe is a company, band, or group of singers, actors, or other performers, esp. one that travels about.

troop means
1. an assemblage of persons or things; company; band.
2. a great number or multitude: A whole troop of children swarmed through the museum.

23. continuous/continual:
Although usage guides generally advise that continual may be used only to mean intermittent and
continuous only to mean uninterrupted, the words are used interchangeably in all kinds of speech and
writing with no distinction in meaning: The President's life is under continual (or continuous) scrutiny.
Continuous (or continual) bursts of laughter punctuated her testimony. The adverbs continually and
continuously are also used interchangeably. To make a clear distinction between what occurs at short

intervals and what proceeds without interruption, writers sometimes use the contrasting terms intermittent
(intermittent losses of power during the storm) and uninterrupted (uninterrupted reception during the storm)
or similar expressions. Continuous is not interchangeable with continual in the sense of spatial relationship: a
continuous (not continual) series of passages.

24. principal/principle
The noun principle and the noun and adjective principal are often confused. Although pronounced alike, the
words are not interchangeable in writing. A principle is broadly a rule of action or conduct (His overriding
principle is greed) or a fundamental doctrine or tenet (Their principles do not permit the use of alcoholic
beverages). The adjective principal has the general sense chief, first, foremost: My principal objection is the
cost of the project. The noun principal has among other meanings the head or director of a school (The
faculty supported the principal in her negotiations with the board) and a capital sum, as distinguished from
interest or profit (The monthly payments go mostly for interest, leaving the principal practically untouched).

25. plaintive/plaintiff
plaintive is an adjective meaning expressing sorrow or melancholy; mournful: a plaintive melody.
plaintiff is a a person who brings suit in a court.

26. ordnance/ordinance
ordinance means an authoritative decree or law; especially : a municipal regulation.
ordnance is military materiel, such as weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and equipment.

27. arrant/ errant
arrant is an adjective meaning downright; thorough; unmitigated; notorious: an arrant fool.

errant is an adjective meaning
1. deviating from the regular or proper course; erring; straying.
2. journeying or traveling, as a medieval knight in quest of adventure; roving adventurously.
3. moving in an aimless or lightly changing manner: an errant breeze.

28. eminent/imminent
eminent is an adjective meaning
1. high in station, rank, or repute; prominent; distinguished: eminent statesmen.
2. conspicuous, signal, or noteworthy: eminent fairness.
3. lofty; high: eminent peaks.

imminent is an adjective meaning
1. likely to occur at any moment; impending: Her death is imminent.
2. projecting or leaning forward; overhanging.

29. doer/dour
dour is an adjective meaning
1. sullen; gloomy: The captain's dour look depressed us all.
2. severe; stern: His dour criticism made us regret having undertaken the job.

doer is a person or thing that does something, esp. a person who gets things done with vigor and efficiency.

30. dissent/descent
dissent is a verb (used without object) meaning
1. to differ in sentiment or opinion, esp. from the majority; withhold assent; disagree (often fol. by from):
Two of the justices dissented from the majority decision.

descent means the fact or process of coming down or being derived from a source: a paper tracing the
descent of the novel from old picaresque tales.

31. credible/credulous
Credible is widely but incorrectly used where credulous would be appropriate. Credulous means "believing too
readily" or "gullible," as in He was credulous (not credible) enough to believe the manufacturer's claims.

Credible means capable of being believed; believable: a credible statement.

32. definite/definitive
Definite and definitive both apply to what is precisely defined or explicitly set forth. But definitive most often
refers specifically to a judgment or description that serves as a standard or reference point for others, as in
the definitive decision of the court (which sets forth a final resolution of a judicial matter) or the definitive
biography of Nelson (that is, the biography that sets the standard against which all other accounts of Nelson's
life must be measured).

33. discrete/discreet
discrete means
1. apart or detached from others; separate; distinct: six discrete parts.
2. consisting of or characterized by distinct or individual parts; discontinuous.

discreet is an adjective meaning
1. judicious in one's conduct or speech, esp. with regard to respecting privacy or maintaining silence about
something of a delicate nature; prudent; circumspect.
2. showing prudence and circumspection; decorous: a discreet silence.

34. creek/creak
Creek is a stream or channel in a coastal marsh.
creak is a verb (used without object) meaning to make a sharp, harsh, grating, or squeaking sound.

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