Words one can get confused

The cold and official and the heart’s outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.

Night Mail, W.H. Auden.

how about: immanent/imminent/immanant

Not quite a perfect partition. There’s a small third group that has heard of the word but has at best a vague and probably misleading understanding. There was a video game, Obduction, where pretty much the first event is that you are abducted. I think the real meaning of the name refers to some later discoveries in the game, in a metaphorical sense, but I think it was also chosen because it sounds kinda like abduction but in a weird alien way.

Prostate (noun): A gland that’s part of male genital anatomy.

Prostrate (adjective/verb): lying face down on the ground, or the act of doing (or making someone do) so.

Cancer may prostrate you, but you can’t get prostrate cancer.

Here are two that are not similar sounding, but that people get mixed up: prone and supine. Lying prone means on your stomach; supine means on your back. I had to correct the writer of a museum script (IOW, not a stupid person) who had used prone when he meant supine.

As does prostrate!

Abduct /abduction: move away from body’s midline.
Adduct / adduction: move closer to body’s midline.

Invert / inversion: to turn upside down, inside out, or place in a contrary order or direction. (more general than “eversion”)
Evert / eversion: to turn inside out. (more specific than “inversion”).

Not to mention Probate (2:17)

genetic, generic and geriatric. Apparently.

Im surprised nobody has mentioned wary vs. weary.
I see people using weary when they mean wary all the time. Mostly on forums where I am in the minority opinion already, so I don’t generally correct the usage.

I think it was Cool Hand Luke where the in-charge guy at some point announces that there is to be no smoking while “in the prone position”. Seemed like a superfluous ban.

So you’re saying that people are supine to confuse the two?

I don’t recall seeing this error - but it occurs to me that there is also leery/leary, synonymous with wary, perhaps that leads to the confusion?

e.g., from another forum:

  1. I’m always weary of voiding my warranty.

nm he corrected

Yes, I was just giving the alternate spellings. My point was not confusion between different spellings of leery, it was the possible relevance to the confusion between weary and wary - because the sound is like weary, but the meaning is like wary.

Yeah, I reread it and saw my confusion and nmed it.

All nouns can be verbs if you squint properly.

All nouns can be verbed? Preposterous!

(I had never thought about it before, but “verbed” is autological, isn’t it? I suppose that’s obvious, and probably intentional in the coining.)

Intimation: an indication or hint. The action of making something known, especially in an indirect way.

Intimidation: the action of intimidating someone, or the state of being intimidated. > Intimidate: frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.