Some homographs and their proximity in meaning [Archives:2005/838/Education]

May 2 2005

By Abdulkhaliq Obad & Ahmed Al-madhaji
Department of English
Faculty of Arts
Sana'a University

There are words which are homographous ;that means these words have either the same pronunciation or the same spelling ,as well as similar meanings. For instance ,the following pairs of words are broadly synonymous .Both of these words can be used interchangeably.

yowl=growl =howl

yowl: If an animal or a person yowls, they make a long loud cry, especially because they are unhappy or in pain. Ex: A tomcat was yowling out in the lawn.

growl: If an animal growls, it makes a long angry sound. Ex: The dog growled at me.

howl: If an animal or a person howls, they make a long loud sound, especially because they are unhappy or in pain. Ex: The dogs howled all night. Upstairs, one of the twins began to howl.


allow: to admit; agree that something is right or just. Ex: The judge allowed the acclaim. We must allow him to be a genius.

swallow: to accept something or believe that it is true. Ex: He swallowed his insult. Saleh is about to swallow this story.


chunk: Thick, solid piece or lump cut of something. Ex: Do you have ice chunks? He has a chunk of breed.

hunk: Thick piece cut of. Ex: A hunk of breed ,cheese or meat.


affirm: to state publically that something is true. Ex: The general affirmed rumors of an attack. A spokesman for the company affirmed that a merger was likely.

confirm: to say that something is definitely true. Ex: The President refused to confirm the rumor. He confirmed that the money has been paid.


clap: to strike the palms of the hands together loudly. Ex: When the violinist finished the audience clapped for five minutes. The baby can clap his hands.

slap:To strike with the palm of the hand. Ex: She slapped him in the face. I do not like being slapped on the back as a greeting.


constrain: To stop somebody from doing something Ex: I feel constrained to write and ask for your forgiveness. Government should not constrain the Journalism.

restrain: To prevent somebody from doing something. Ex: She could not restrain the child from mischief. He had to restrain him from running out into the street.


emend: To correct something from something which has been written. Ex: He is trying to emend the passage from errors. You must emend the mistakes from the final exam answer.

amend: to correct or improve something that is written or spoken. Ex: The defendant later amended his evidence. You should amend your way of writing


expend: To use a lot of something in order to do something. Ex: He expended all of his capital on equipment. People of different ages expend different amounts of energy.

spend: To pay out for something or to consume something. Ex: We 'll have to spend the night in the hotel. He is always spending; he is a spend-thrift.


prohibit: to officially stop an activity by making it illegal or against the rules. Ex: Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the factory. Prohibit somebody from doing something. Ex: Nuclear powers are prohibited from selling this technology.

inhibit: to prevent something from growing or developing as much as it might have done otherwise. Ex: Failure to set up a good transport network inhibited the expansion of trade.


tug: verb [intransitive, transitive] to pull with one or more short, quick pulls. Ex: She kept tugging insistently at Alan's sleeve.

lug: verb [transitive] to pull or carry something heavy with difficulty. Ex: I lugged my suitcase up the stairs and rang the bell.

cohere =adhere

cohere: If two objects cohere, they stick together.

adhere: to stick firmly to something.


chubby: fat in a pleasant healthy-looking way: Ex: I was chubby even as a baby.

tubby (informal): short and slightly fat, with a round stomach.


hush: used to tell people to be quiet or to comfort a child who is crying or upset. Ex: Hush, now. Try to get to sleep.

shush: used to tell someone, especially a child, to be quiet. Ex: “Shush!” said Jerry. “Not so loud.”


rap: to hit or knock something quickly and lightly. Ex: She rapped the table with her pen and called for silence. [+ at/on] Rapping loudly on the door

tap: to hit your hand or foot lightly against something, especially to get someone's attention or without thinking about it. Ex: She tapped her feet in time to the music. Tap something on/against etc. Ex: He sat tapping his fingers on the arm of the chair.


fling: to throw something quickly with a lot of force. Ex: Spectators flung bottles and cans at the marchers. Sammy flings down his coat and stomps upstairs.

sling: to throw something roughly or with a lot of force. Ex: Sling me the keys, will you? Sling something across/into etc. Ex: Fiona slung her bag across the room.


spatter: to throw small amounts of mud, dirt etc all over a surface. Ex: A passing car spattered with mud. Spatter something on/over etc: Grey flicked his brush spattering paint over my shirt.

scatter: to throw or drop a lot of things over a wide area in an irregular way. Ex: Scatter something over/on/around: Books lay scattered all over the floor. Scatter something with something. Ex: The sky was scattered with stars.


shrill: to say something in a very high voice. Ex: “Shame!” she shrilled.

trill: to say something in a pleasant high cheerful voice. Ex: “Have a nice time, darling,” she trilled.