Commonly Confused Words
1. Defuse & Diffuse
(a) To remove the fuse from (a bomb, mine, etc.).
Usage Example: The bomb was defused with barely a minute to spare.
(b) To make less dangerous, tense, or embarrassing.
Usage Example: Green environmentalists are trying to defuse the threat of global warming.
Diffuse means to spread or scatter widely or thinly; disseminate.
Usage Example: The aroma of freshly baked cakes was diffused in the whole room.
2. Delegate & Relegate
Delegate is to give or commit (duties, powers, etc) to another as agent or representative; depute.
Usage Example: All the delegates at the convention received a copy of the agenda of the meeting.
Relegate means to send or consign to an inferior position, place, or condition.
Usage Example: He felt humiliated on being relegated to a lower position.
3. Deluded & Diluted
Deluded means to mislead the mind or judgment of; deceive.
Usage Example: They deluded themselves with the images of their past glory.
Diluted means to make (a liquid) thinner or weaker by the addition of water or the like.
Usage Example: The paint was diluted with a thinner to improve the finish.
4. Denounce & Renounce
Denounce means to condemn or censure openly or publicly.
Usage Example: He was fined for denouncing the government policies.
Renounce means to give up or put aside voluntarily.
Usage Example: Lord Buddha renounces his throne at a very early age after seeing atrocities being committed on the poor.
5. Depravation & Deprivation
Depravation means to make morally bad or evil; vitiate; corrupt.
Usage Example: There was depravation galore amongst the upper classes in the 19th century.
Deprivation means the state of being deprived.
Usage Example: In all the colonial estates the lower castes faced social deprivation.
6. Deprecate & Depreciate
Deprecate means to express earnest disapproval of.
Usage Example: The efforts of the disabled were deprecated by the judges.
Depreciate means to lessen the value or price of.
Usage Example: The depreciating dollar has caused a great loss to the economy.
7. Descendant & Descendent
Descendant is a person or animal that is descended from a specific ancestor; an offspring.
Usage Example: The descendants of the tribals had begun to settle in the cities in search of livelihood.
Descendent means coming or going downwards; descending.
Usage Example: Her eternal beauty was the gift of her descendent gene.
8. Desolate & Dissolute
Desolate means barren or laid waste; devastated.
Usage Example: We travelled through a desolate landscape for almost half the day.
Dissolute means indifferent to moral restraints; given to immoral or improper conduct; licentious; dissipated.
Usage Example: Although a dissolute he was very generous towards people in need.
9. Detract & Distract
Detract means to draw away or divert; distract.
Usage Example: The derelict farmhouse amidst the green meadows detracts from its beauty.
Distract means to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention.
Usage Example: The continuous cacophony of the old couple distracted him from concentrating on his goal.
10. Device & Devise
Device is a machine or tool used for a specific task; contrivance. Remember, device is a noun.
Usage Example: These days many devices can be linked to the smart phone.
Devise means to contrive, plan, or elaborate; invent from existing principles or ideas. Remember, devise is a verb.
Usage Example: The students made an ingenuous plan to surprise the professor on his birthday.