Confused Words Exercise (629)

In each sentence, choose the correct word from the pair of similar terms. (If both words possibly can be correct, choose the more plausible one.)

  • The paymaster unlocked the chest and began to ________ the week’s wages.

  • He had an admirable ________ that had brought him through some harrowing experiences.

  • He had the ________ to suggest that I was at fault.

  • Pasteur first formulated the idea that bacteria are responsible for the diseases of fermented liquids; the ________ of this was a demand for pure yeast.

  • Jane ranted about how much she despise her _________ brother, whom she said had never lifted a finger to help anyone and wasn’t about to start now.

Answers and Explanations

1. The paymaster unlocked the chest and began to disburse the week’s wages.

disburse: distribute money from a specific fund, or pay to settle a debt. "I refused to disburse the bill."
disperse: break up, go away, or spread out. "The protesters refused to disperse, so the police advanced on them."

2. He had an admirable tenacity that had brought him through some harrowing experiences.

temerity: foolish recklessness. "She had the temerity to propose an endurance race to prove that she was his equal."
tenacity: persistence. "Their tenacity in bringing the problem-plagued product to market paid off as it unexpectedly became a smash hit."

3. He had the effrontery to suggest that I was at fault.

affront: an insulting or offensive act, or insult or offend. "The vindictive prank was an affront to his dignity."
effrontery: arrogance. "The effrontery of the vain cavalry officer irritated her."

4. Pasteur first formulated the idea that bacteria are responsible for the diseases of fermented liquids; the corollary of this was a demand for pure yeast.

corollary: something that follows or results from another thing. "One corollary of success by an American soccer team in international competition is an increase in the number of children joining youth soccer leagues."
correlation: a close connection between things. "We found a high correlation between healthy diet and a low heart rate."

5. Jane ranted about how much she despise her indolent brother, whom she said had never lifted a finger to help anyone and wasn’t about to start now.

indigent: poor. "Many workhouses have been established for indigent persons capable of work."
indolent: lazy. "John was determined to tear his son away from a life of indolent ease."

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