Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

11

Defuse the situation is the more sensible of the two: It employs the metaphor that the situation is a bomb, and may explode. Defusing it will render it harmless. Diffusing a situation would mean to spread it out and make it less concentrated. You can make a case that the intensity of the situation needs diffusion to make it less dangerous, but I believe ...


7

The word is eggcorn a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one which sounds very similar. We even have an eggcorn tag.


6

Since a homophone is defined as: Each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling, e.g., new and knew. I guess that means that may ("allowed to"), May (the month), and Mae (the female name) are homophones.


5

According to OED, the word defuse is coined in 1943, by combining de- and fuse(v.) (which is invented in 1680s as a back-formation from fusion, a noun came from Middle French fusion, from Latin fusionem), while the verb form of diffuse is coined in 1520s from Latin diffusus, past participle of diffundere "to pour out or away". Despite the similarities in ...


5

'Defuse is a verb, which means 'to remove the fuse'. But it is often used figuratively, such as in 'UN forces were sent in to help defuse the tensions between the warring parties'. 'Diffuse, is also a verb, meaning to 'spread over a wide area, or among a larger number of people' such as 'the problem is how to diffuse power without creating anarchy'. But ...


2

Dictionaries have long had to contend with this issue. The word run, for example, has 50 or so meanings as a verb, and another 30 or so as a noun, but they all are grouped under one single dictionary entry. On the other hand, bow has three separate entries. Most print dictionaries denote this using superscripted numerals for each separate entry, much like ...


1

The phonetic difference is in an unstressed syllable, and English in general tends to reduce unstressed syllables toward the mid-central schwa sound. In some accents these words are homophones. In others, except is pronounced with a near-close, near-front /ɪ/ or an open-mid front /ɛ/, but in casual or rapid speech, they may be difficult or impossible to ...


1

The English surname, Hoo, has a nice (and old) lineage: Hoo Howe is usually a surname Howe, but many give a surname to offspring. Howe Hoo? (I don't know how BrE pronounces Hugh, but in AmE, it's not "who", it's more like "h+you")


1

Note that homophones are tricky. Since the definition relies on pronunciation, and that varies with dialect, words that are homophones in one part of the English-speaking world may not be in others. Sometimes even in nearby places. For example, where I live cot and caught are homophones. Even that statement is a bit extreme, as I had some friends growing up ...


1

I don't think one can attempt to answer the question as is. By definition, if you merge, in production two sounds in your own dialect with respect to another (or rather rewrite one sound to an existing one), then two words that started in the standard dialect as different but are pronounced the same in the dialect are by definition indistinguishable ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible