New answers tagged homophones
To accept is from Latin accipere meaning basically to take and to except from Latin excipere meaning to exclude. Though they sound almost similar, the context of their use is different. You can accept a proposition and you can except certain people from a tax. So you hear from context and the verb construction what is what.
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 ...
Most importantly, diffuse ends in an /s/ defuse ends in a /z/ If you get that straight, there will be no problems.
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 ...
'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 ...
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 ...
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