There are some words which meanings can be easily confused. After learning this lesson, you will never again confuse meanings of these words.
1) bemused – amused
“The plot left me feeling bemused.” – If you watched a confusing movie, the plot was weird, strange, difficult to understand – it puzzled you, it perplexed you, it left you feeling bemused. And if you watch a comedy, it may leave you amused.
2) disinterested – uninterested
“Disinterested“. This means unbiased or not influenced by selfish motivation. It does not mean uninterested, as if you’re not interested in something. For example: “Professional referees need to be disinterested.” So, a hockey referee, a basketball referee, a football referee – they need to be disinterested; unbiased. Also think of a supreme court judge – they cannot have bias. We need a disinterested judge or a disinterested party; a mediator.
And the use of “uninterested“: “I’m uninterested in sports”, if you’re not interested in sports, for example.
3) noisome – noisy
“Noisome“. This means smelly. It doesn’t mean noisy. For example: “The noisome fish market gave me a headache.” So, I’m walking in the fish market, the smells are so strong, so powerful that I start not feeling well and I got a headache. Now, it is possible to say: “The noisy fish market gave me a headache”, but here, the cause is the noise; the volume of the people talking, and selling, and buying in the fish market. So, remember: “noisome” – smell; “noisy” -hearing.
4) refute – allege – argue against
“Refute“. This means to prove something to be false. It does not mean to allege or argue that something is false. It means to prove it without the shadow of a doubt. So: “The lawyer refuted the defendant’s story.” The lawyer proved that the defendant’s story was a lie. Proved that it wasn’t true.
So, next time you want to use the word “refute” in an argument or a conversation: “I refute your point” – this is incorrect. You want to prove that it’s false, that’s when you use “refute“; if you want to argue, you can say: “I’m going to argue against that point.”
5) enormity – enormousness
“Enormity“. This means extreme evil; not enormousness. For example: “We cannot accept the enormity of child labor!” The extreme evil of child labor.
And here we have “enormousness“: “The enormousness of the pyramids must be seen to be believed”, not the “enormity“. The enormousness – the size.
6) fortuitous – fortunate
“Fortuitous” – this means unplanned or coincidental. It does not mean lucky or fortunate. For example: “We ran into a fortuitous obstacle” – an unplanned problem; something you didn’t plan for, and that was a coincidence when you were doing your project.
And here we have “fortunate“: “We were fortunate to qualify for the tax rebate.” So, we were lucky or fortunate.
7) nonplussed – unimpressed
“Nonplussed“. This means stunned or bewildered; shocked. For example: “The witnesses were nonplussed by the accident.” Or: “She was unimpressed by the play” if she didn’t feel any interest. But you can be nonplussed by a play as well if it’s very shocking, like “12 Angry Men”.
- allege – if you allege that something bad is true, you say it but do not prove it.
- amused – if you are amused by something, it makes you want to laugh or smile.
- argue against – if you argue against something, you say why you disagree with it, in order to persuade people that it is wrong.
- bemused – if you are bemused, you are puzzled, confused or perplexed.
- disinterested – someone who is disinterested is not involved in a particular situation or not likely to benefit from it and is therefore able to act in a fair and unselfish way.
- enormity – an enormity is an action that is considered totally unacceptable.
- enormousness – something that is very large in size, quantity, or extent.
- fortuitous – happening by chance rather than intention
- fortunate – if you say that someone or something is fortunate, you mean that they are lucky.
- noisome – having an extremely offensive smell
- noisy – full of or characterized by noise
- nonplussed – if you are nonplussed, you feel confused and unsure how to react.
- refute – prove (a statement or theory) to be wrong or false
- unimpressed – feeling no admiration, interest, or respect
- uninterested – if you are uninterested in something or someone, you do not want to know any more about them, because you think they have no special or exciting qualities.