Category Archives: Lexical Vexations

Disburse vs. Disperse

Lexical Vexations disburse 1. v. to pay out (esp. from a fund), to pay (e.g., a bill). disperse 1. v. to break up, to spread something over an area, to make something evaporate. Words in the Wild: When the bank … Continue reading

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Coarse vs. Course

Lexical Vexations coarse 1. adj. of a thick gauge; 2. adj. rough; 3. adj. unrefined, crude (of a person). course 1. n. a path or route followed by people or things; 2. n. a series of classes on a topic … Continue reading

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Palate vs. Palette vs. Pallet

Lexical Vexations palate 1. n . the top or roof of the mouth; 2. n. one’s sense of taste. palette 1. n. an easily held flat surface on which an artist mixes paints; 2. n. a range of available colours. … Continue reading

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Lessen vs. Lesson

Lexical Vexations lessen 1. v . to decrease. lesson 1. n. the presentation of information, a tutorial,  a teaching. Words in the Wild: Simon’s driving lessons really seem to have lessened the frequency of his car accidents—he’s only had four … Continue reading

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Principal vs. Principle

Lexical Vexations This lexical vexation is for Kevin – thanks for all the great Lexical Vexation suggestions, Kevin! principal 1. n . a person responsible for the administration of a school. 2. adj. most important or influential. principle 1. n. … Continue reading

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Wait vs. Weight

Lexical Vexations This lexical vexation is for Colette, who understands the weighty responsibility of using wait and weight correctly. wait 1. v . to remain somewhere in anticipation of an event, to employ (varying degrees of) patience in anticipation of … Continue reading

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Their vs. There vs. They’re

Lexical Vexations Lee requested this classic lexical vexation, one that trips up the best of us from time to time. Thanks, Lee! their adj. the possessive form of the pronoun they. there 1. adv. a word used to designate a … Continue reading

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Its vs. It’s

Lexical Vexations I don’t know how I’ve missed the grandaddy of  lexical vexations for so long, so thank you, Susan, for requesting this post. its the possessive form of the pronoun it. it’s a contraction of the words it and … Continue reading

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Role vs. Roll

Lexical Vexations role 1. n . a part one plays in a dramatic production or in relation to other people in a real-life situation. roll 1. v. to move around a central axis. 2. n. a small bun served at … Continue reading

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