Category Archives: Lexical Vexations

Flounder vs. Founder

Lexical Vexations flounder 1. v. to move about with difficulty, often losing one’s footing. 2. n. a fish. founder 1. v. to sink or succumb. 2. n. one responsible for beginning a venture or organization. Words in the Wild: The first … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Wet vs. Whet

Lexical Vexations wet 1. adj. soaked with or coverd by liquid. 2. v. to cause to be soaked with or covered by liquid. whet v. to sharpen, both literally (as in to whet a knife) and figuratively (as in to … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Defuse vs. Diffuse

Lexical Vexations defuse v. to disarm a bomb or, more metaphorically, a tense situation. diffuse adj. spread or scattered over an area. Words in the Wild: There wouldn’t have been a diffuse pink mist in the room if the secret … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Allude vs. Elude

Lexical Vexations allude v. to reference indirectly. elude v. to escape or evade. Words in the Wild: Whatever Prof. Dobson was alluding to in his mention of academic misconduct seemed to elude Sarah’s notice altogether—she continued to copy the contents … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Systematic vs. Systemic

Lexical Vexations systematic adj. following a devised plan in a methodological way. systemic adj. relating to a complex but cohesive system. This was originally a term specific to the body (ex. systemic infection) but is now used to describe other … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Than vs. Then

Lexical Vexations Today’s post was requested by reader Elaine, who writes, “Please add ‘Then vs Than.’ Then refers to a time element; than is used in a comparative sense.” As you can see Elaine has a lockdown on this tricky … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Ordinance vs. Ordnance

Lexical Vexations ordinance n. a municipal regulation. ordnance n. military supplies, esp. artillery Word in the Wild: If you’re researching your next move and the city’s website keeps mentioning various municipal ordnances, you may want to consider moving somewhere a … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Eek vs. Eke

Lexical Vexations eek interj. an expression of fright or surprise. eke v. to extract with great toil; often used in the phrase eke out. Words in the Wild: Sharon opened her latest credit card statement with trepidation, and when she … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Rout vs. Route

Lexical Vexations rout 1. n. a terrible defeat; 2. a rabble or mob; 3. a disturbance. route n. path, road, course. Words in the Wild: Despite intensive training the Mighty Slugs suffered a crushing rout at their first cricket match … Continue reading

Posted in Lexical Vexations | Tagged , | Leave a comment