Confused Words Exercise (711)

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.)

  • After much ________ strife and many stormy meetings of the divided council, they reached an uneasy compromise.

  • Although she thought she was just being funny, her teacher didn’t agree, and he sent her to the principal’s office for being _________.

  • The hounds would _______ out of my way, as if afraid, and stand silent amid the bushes till I had passed.

  • I attempted to ________ myself from the awkward conversation.

  • The basketball player exhibited a clever ________ when he pretended to pass the ball and then leaped up for the game-winning shot.

Answers and Explanations

1. After much factious strife and many stormy meetings of the divided council, they reached an uneasy compromise.

factious: marked by dissension between factions. "The contest was bitter, personal, factious and full of intrigue."
fractious: troublesome or unmanageable, or irritable and quarrelsome. "As a new manager, John is not used to dealing with fractious employees who do not follow directions."

2. Although she thought she was just being funny, her teacher didn’t agree, and he sent her to the principal’s office for being impertinent.

impertinent: disrespectful. "Considering the applicant’s impertinent response to a serious question, Jones decided to take his name off of the short list of candidates."
importunate: making annoying demands or requests. "The importunate woman called the server to her table several times during the meal."

3. The hounds would skulk out of my way, as if afraid, and stand silent amid the bushes till I had passed.

skulk: sneak. "He tried to skulk around the neighborhood without being noticed."
sulk: act moody and silent. "If the old man was going to sulk, I thought, I might as well allow him to get over it."

4. I attempted to extricate myself from the awkward conversation.

extract: remove something by cutting or pulling, or get something from something. "It is always desirable to work the deposit so as to extract the mineral completely."
extricate: remove something from a difficult situation. "The government managed to extricate itself from its immediate difficulties by raising a loan."

5. The basketball player exhibited a clever feint when he pretended to pass the ball and then leaped up for the game-winning shot.

faint: the action or condition of fainting. "She collapsed to the floor in a dead faint."
feint: a distracting trick movement. "Looking at the surveillance tapes, the detective quickly noticed the feint the man used to steal watches from the jeweler."

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