This tag is for questions about the differences in the meaning of two words.

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13
votes
4answers
61k views

“Warranty” vs. “guarantee”

Is there any relation or difference between warranty and guarantee? What do they mean? In what situations do we use them? For example, I suppose we say When we buy something it has a warranty.
13
votes
7answers
59k views

Difference between “at” and “in” when specifying location

I am used to saying "I am in India.". But somewhere I saw it said "I am at Puri (Oriisa)". I would like to know the differences between "in" and "at" in the above two sentences.
13
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the difference between “daemon” and “demon” in a religious context?

Is there a difference between demon and daemon in a religious context?
13
votes
7answers
8k views

What's the difference between a vicar and a pastor?

What's the difference between a vicar, preferably of the Church of England, and a pastor? I browsed Wikipedia, but most of the gist of the article is that vicar is an ecclesiastical office, and ...
13
votes
3answers
51k views

Difference between an acronym and abbreviation?

TLA is an acronym for "Three Letter Acronym". Is it also an abbreviation, since it abbreviates the original phrase?
13
votes
3answers
12k views

Difference between “response” and “reply”

As far as I understand, replies are a subset of responses: A reply is a response in words or writing. However, responses can take many different forms, e.g. when a country responds in force to some ...
13
votes
6answers
13k views

Difference between “movie”, “film” and “motion picture”

What is the difference between movie, film and motion picture? In school I learned that a movie is played in a cinema, but film is also used to describe this.
13
votes
3answers
2k views

“whether” vs. “if ” [duplicate]

How can I know when should I use whether or if in a sentence? I can not see any difference between whether and if. When should I use each? For me, they are the same and I am not sure if there is a ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference in usage between “lethal” and “fatal”?

This cropped up when I was in a conversation with a friend. I guess fatal must talk of something which has necessarily resulted in death, while lethality is more about potential to cause death. Yet I ...
13
votes
7answers
10k views

What's the difference between “big” and “large”?

What's the proper way to say: a large family or a big family? What's the difference between them?
13
votes
2answers
13k views

“Stack” vs. “pile” vs. “heap” of paper

What is the difference between stack, pile or heap of something, let it be for example paper? CS+IT people might tend to use the word heap, because there is a widely known datastructure by that name. ...
13
votes
3answers
35k views

“Egoistic” vs. “egotistic” [closed]

Does "egoistic" and "egotistic" mean the same thing?
13
votes
5answers
21k views

Is there a semantic difference between “pedophile” and “pederast”?

If I understand the etymology of pedophile and pederast, both mean child lover. Is there a difference in their connotation? In some recent local news stories that discuss changing sex offender laws, ...
13
votes
2answers
723 views

Is “so” more feminine than “very”?

Many Japanese textbooks of English mention the "feminine 'so'": the use of "so" for "very" is more typical of a feminine speaker. I don't think this is true in the US (I learned English living in ...
12
votes
11answers
1k views

Cases where “mistake” and “error” are not interchangeable

Are there cases where error and mistake are not interchangeable?
12
votes
6answers
2k views

What exactly is the difference between “misinformation” and “disinformation”?

I have checked OALD. I looked up "disinformation" which according to dictionary means "false information that is given deliberately, especially by government organizations" and "Misinform" as a verb ...
12
votes
7answers
7k views

What's the difference between 'just' and 'fair'?

What's the difference between 'just' and 'fair'? OED gives slightly different definitions, but they are not distinct enough as to be clear (to me). Is the difference simply idiomatic, or is there a ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the difference between “proven” and “proved”?

My question concerns when to use what of the above.
12
votes
12answers
57k views

What's the difference between pronunciation and enunciation?

What's the difference between pronunciation and enunciation? I learned this a long time ago in English class but forgot what it was. Clarification For example, Wikipedia says: Good enunciation ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Difference between “commit suicide” and “suicide”

One of the examples in my English composition book (for learning to write my language's sentences in English) was "Why he committed suicide under such a good circumstance is an unsolved question.", ...
12
votes
9answers
8k views

Difference between “question” and “query”

What is the difference between a question and a query? It seems that in certain circumstances, the words are interchangeable: I have one further question. I have one further query. But, ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How can I distinguish “can” & “can't” from pronunciation?

It's very difficult for me to separate them. I was just listening to some video and it said "Fat cells can’t reproduce themselves." What I thought I've heard is "... CAN reproduce ..." Frankly, ...
12
votes
3answers
6k views

“Between A and B” or “from A to B”

Suppose we are talking about the numbers 1, 2, ... , 10. When we use the phrase between 1 and 10, do we include the end-points 1 and 10? Is there any difference if we say from 1 to 10 instead?
12
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the difference between “none of …” and “neither of”?

What's the difference between the following examples: Neither of my teachers are mathematicians. None of my teachers are mathematicians.
12
votes
4answers
868 views

In the context of cooking, what is the difference between “flipper” and “spatula”?

I'm genuinely confused about this because at first I thought a spatula was a cooking tool resembling a flat pallet attached at an angle to the handle that could be used for activities such as flipping ...
12
votes
3answers
30k views

What are the distinctions between “authoritarian”, “totalitarian”, and “dictatorial”?

I'm giving a talk about technology (specifically the Internet) in various governments where freedoms are strongly constrained. I'm a technologist, and I have little experience with words used to ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Difference between “run into”, “come upon” and “come across”

These phrasal verbs have a similar meaning (please correct me if not): run into come across come upon Are there any nuances to choose between them? For example, I might be wrong but I mostly see ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

“Play it as it lays” or “play it as it lies”

The title of Joan Didion's book Play It as It Lays has thrown me off since I first heard it. Shouldn't it be Play It as It Lies? I have read through a related post on the subject of lay vs. lie and ...
12
votes
4answers
15k views

“Arab” or “Arabic” or “Arabian”?

Are these adjectives interchangeable? I always hear: 'An Arab man.' but never 'An Arabic man.' and I always hear 'Arabic coffee' but never hear 'Arab coffee.'
12
votes
3answers
28k views

Difference between “asleep” and “sleeping”

I know asleep and sleeping are interchangeable in many cases. But in these situations, I am not sure. I read stories to my son after he went to bed. After reading the stories, I stayed for some time ...
12
votes
11answers
22k views

“Environmentally-friendly” vs. “Environment-friendly”

"Environmentally-friendly" sounds completely normal to me. So does "Environment-friendly". But I'm pretty sure I favour the former (despite the fact that I normally prefer the shorter of any two ...
12
votes
4answers
105k views

What is the difference between “sardonic” and “sarcastic”?

Basically, sardonic and sarcastic both stand for mocking gestures, but what is the difference in their contextual use? Are there any other words that represent a similar gesture?
12
votes
7answers
9k views

Difference between “canteen” and “cafeteria”

Are there any differences between canteen and cafeteria? In India, usually an eating place attached to an office, factory or school is called a canteen. Of course, in some new offices it is called ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

“Defense” or “defence”

Is the only difference that in USA they write it with s and in UK they write it with c, or is there anything more?
12
votes
6answers
120k views

Difference between “supposedly” and “supposably”

What is the difference between supposedly and supposably? Both are real words but seem to have confusingly similar definitions. Supposably: Capable of being supposed : conceivable ...
12
votes
4answers
14k views

What is the difference between “clothes” and “clothing”?

Do some google I find that clothes work like objects like: You should pack your clothes. → Yes You should pack your clothing. → No Can you tell me the main difference between clothing ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Are “nil” and “null” interchangeable?

Are nil and null interchangeable? For example, My bank a/c has a nil balance. My bank a/c has a null balance.
11
votes
5answers
31k views

“To be subject to” vs. “to be subjected to”

I read an article from Toronto Star today which stated: TTC workers are subject to alcohol and drug testing. A later paragraph of the same article repeated it, except it used subjected to ...
11
votes
3answers
957 views

What's the difference between a “fen” and a “dale”?

What's the difference between a fen and a dale? Are these words used precisely at all? EDIT: My question comes from this Kipling poem, The Spirit of England; if you'll notice, each couplet, plain ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

Is there any difference between “color” and “colour”?

What is the difference between color and colour?
11
votes
12answers
44k views

Difference between “slacks”, “pants”, and “trousers”?

I wonder what differences are between usage of slacks, pants, and trousers? Their meanings seem the same by looking up Google’s Internet dictionary and Wikipedia.
11
votes
4answers
34k views

Difference between “smart” and “clever”

What is the difference between smart and clever? As far as I understand the latter is offensive. But the Cambrige Dictionary gives similar definitions of smart and clever.
11
votes
4answers
19k views

“Plausible” vs. “possible”

I am looking to find the difference between possible and plausible. Here is what Apple's dictionary gives for each word: Possible: Able to be done; within the power or capacity of someone or ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Can “crepuscular” and/or “twilight” apply to morning half-light as well as in the evening

I know that's "sorta" two questions in one, but I'm stuck in an argument with a guy who says both words can apply to morning half-light. I disagree and think both only apply in the evening. I think ...
11
votes
3answers
10k views

“I am on it” vs. “I am at it”

What are the differences between I am on it and I am at it? What does the latter mean? I found the definition of the former on Urban Dictionary and understand that it means I'm going to solve it ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between a murder and an assassination? [closed]

I am unsure what the technical difference is between a murder and an assassination. Instinctively I feel it's to do with the victim - perhaps their fame? Royalty? What is the distinction between the ...
11
votes
2answers
12k views

Differences between e.g., viz. and i.e.

What are the differences between viz. and eg. and in which situations each is used? Please also compare the usage with i.e. if appropriate. Edit: In response to a comment below: I'm asking this as I ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

“Baggage” versus “luggage”

I have the feeling that luggage is more closely associated with vacation travel, whereas baggage is for general transportation. Or... are they just exact synonyms?
11
votes
3answers
14k views

Difference between “sorcerer” and “wizard”

What is the difference between sorcerer and wizard? I know that the nomenclature is unclear. However, the common usage seems to indicate: a wizard is born an ordinary mortal, learns magic and ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is “a couple of <things>” often shortened to “a couple <things>”?

I would write a couple of . I often read/hear a couple . I assumed this was an American English thing (I'm British), and just a convenient shortening of the phrase for speaking. It's easier to say a ...