Confused Words Exercise (740)

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.)

  • It is no very easy matter to ________ up a ship’s side from a boat on the open sea.

  • The prisoners endured a __________ of forced work, scant food, and regular beatings.

  • The bomb squad labored to ________ the explosive device.

  • The ladle slipped off its ________ and clattered onto the floor.

  • While kings claim they rule on the basis of a divine _______, dictators lead by the mandate of might.

Answers and Explanations

1. It is no very easy matter to clamber up a ship’s side from a boat on the open sea.

clamber: climb or crawl awkwardly. "She clutched at the fence and began to clamber over it."
clamor: make a loud noise, or insist loudly. "The crowd soon began to clamor for the gates to open."

2. The prisoners endured a regimen of forced work, scant food, and regular beatings.

regimen: a regular course of action or (often strenuous) training: "Fifteen million Americans now say they include some form of yoga in their fitness regimen."
regiment: a military unit usually consisting more than a thousand soldiers. "Robert Cromwell died in 1644 while serving in his father’s regiment."

3. The bomb squad labored to defuse the explosive device.

defuse: make something less difficult, serious, or tense. "I was trained to defuse desperate situations, not sit around and be blind to their development."
diffuse: spread out or be or make widely known. "The vapor began to diffuse into the atmosphere."

4. The ladle slipped off its hanger and clattered onto the floor.

hangar: building where aircraft are kept. "He slipped on a puddle of oil on the floor of the hangar below an airplane."
hanger: device for hanging clothing or other objects. "She reached into the closet and slid each hanger along the dowel, searching for the missing shirt."

5. While kings claim they rule on the basis of a divine right, dictators lead by the mandate of might.

right: something that people should be able to have legally or morally. "Civilization sees it as a fundamental legal right around the world."
rite: an act that is part of a religious ceremony. "Religious scholars dispute the various interpretations of the rite."

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