38 Similar Words Meaning OR Confusing Words

Similar words meaning examples, Popular books are in use at our schools give long list of pairs of words between which they and fanciful distinctions, whereas the distinctions do not exist and the words so distinguished are used interchangeably in modern English.

Here you get a list of 38 commonly confused words similar in meaning, whatever the original difference, such as abandon and forsake, abstain and refrain, assent and consent, avenge and revenge, allow and permit, etc. are now used interchangeably.

I have italicized and underlined the main word, which will be easy for you to understand.

Similar Words Meaning
The following distinctions may, however, be noted:

πŸ‘‰Accident and Incident

Accident means mishap; while Incident means a minor occurrence; as,


A bus accident took place near Delhi.
No noteworthy incident took place in the examination hall.

πŸ‘‰Alter and Change

To Alter means to change in parts, make some difference by adding and reducing. To Change means to substitute one thing for another; as,

He made many alterations in my plan.
He changed his ideas and came back.

πŸ‘‰Banish and Exile

To Banish means to send a person out of a country, whether a native or a foreigner. To Exile means to send a man out of the country of his birth; as,

Rama was sent into exile for fourteen years.
The duke was banished from the country.

πŸ‘‰Battle and War

A Battle means a single engagement of troops; a War means a whole series of battles from the beginning of hostilities to the restoration of peace; as,

A severe battle was fought between Babar and Ibrahim Lodhi at Panipat.
The Indo-Pak war of 1971 lasted for fourteen days.

πŸ‘‰Beat and Strike

Strike means to hit repeatedly and Beat means to strike; as,

He beat the hot iron on the anvil with a hammer.
The blow he struck made on his opponent fall down like a log of wood.

πŸ‘‰Bring and Fetch

Bring means to take a thing from one place to another. Fetch means to go and bring it; as,

Bring me a tumbler of water, please.
Fetch some water from the well.

πŸ‘‰Cheat and Deceive

To Cheat means to obtain something by deceiving, while to Deceive means to give one a false idea and to make one believe what is not true; as,

Sohan cheated me of ten rupees.
Sharif deceived his father by telling him lie.

πŸ‘‰Compare and Contrast

To Compare is to find points of likeness, to Contrast is to bring out points of dissimilarities; as,

You may compare one wise man with another; but between a fool and philosopher there is nothing but contrast.

Compare and Contrast Akbar and Aurangzeb.

πŸ‘‰Confess and Admit

Confess means to acknowledge guilt (used in bad sense); while Admit means to accept (used in good sense); as,

The thief confessed his guilt.
I admit that he is an intelligent student.

πŸ‘‰Contagious and Infectious

Contagious means communication of diseases from one person to another by touch. Infectious means communication through water or atmosphere; as,

Small-pox is a contagious disease.
Cholera is an infectious disease.

πŸ‘‰Contented and Satisfied

We are Satisfied when our desires are fulfilled, but we may be Contented even our desires remain unfulfilled; as,

A contented mind is a great blessing.
I was satisfied when my due share was given to me.

πŸ‘‰Cost, Value and Price

Cost is the money spent upon the purchase or production of a thing; Price is the money demanded by the seller and Value means worth or utility of a thing; as,

The cost of the book is one rupee. Its price is two rupees and I value it more than a heap of gold.

πŸ‘‰Crime, Vice and Sin

Crime means a violation of the law of the country, Vice means violations of law the society; and Sin means a violation of religious laws; as,

Stealing is a crime.
Gambling and drinking are vices.
It is a sin to tell a lie.

πŸ‘‰Deny, Refuse and Decline

Deny means to rebut a change;Refuse means to give a negative reply to an offer; Decline means to refuse to accept an invitation; as,

He denied the charge.
He refused to lend me the book.
He declined the invitation.

πŸ‘‰Defend and Protect

To Defend means to save from a present danger; to Protect means to save from what may happen at any time; as,

Chand bibi defended the fort when it was besieged by Prince Murad.
The high wall protected the city against sudden attacks.

πŸ‘‰Desert and Leave

We Leave a place with the intention of returning; we Desert a person or a place for good; as,
He left his work incomplete.

He has deserted his friends.
We found the place deserted.

πŸ‘‰Devoted and Addicted

The former is used in good sense and the latter in bad sense; as,

I am devoted to my studies.
He is addicted to gambling.

πŸ‘‰Election and Selection

Election means by choosing by votes; Selection means a choice of excellence; as,

Kailash stood for election to the Parliament.
Let us make a selection of some useful books.

πŸ‘‰Freedom and Liberty

Freedom means non-slavery; Liberty means a right to do as one pleases; as,

Indian has won freedom.
You have a liberty to do whatever you like.

πŸ‘‰Hope and Expect

Expect denotes that an occurrence is probable, whether it is desired or not; while the Hope denotes pleasurable expectation or wish; as,

I expect there will soon be outbreak of war between India and Pakistan.
I hope he will send you a present on your birthday.

πŸ‘‰Hear and Listen

To Listen implies attention, while Hearing may be accidental; as,

I listen to his story very carefully.
I have heard the case and shall pronounce judgement tomorrow.

πŸ‘‰Habit and Custom

A Habit generally concerns and individual while Custom denotes what is commonly practised in a society or a country; as,

Smoking is a bad habit.
In some parts of India, it is still a custom for the brides to hide their faces from their fathers-in-law.

πŸ‘‰Invent and Discover

We Discover what exists already, and we Invent when we make something new; as,

Columbus discovered America.
Galileo invented the telescope.

πŸ‘‰Look and See

We say Look when we intend to draw attention to a particular spot or object, while Seeing has a general sense; as,

Look at the bird sitting on that mango tree.
I saw the gentleman today.

πŸ‘‰Probable and Possible

Probable means likely to be or happen, Possible means that something can happen; as,

It is possible he may come (and just as possible that he may not)
It is probable (it is likely) that the valley may have a snowfall someday this week.

πŸ‘‰Receive and Takes

To Take means to obtain a thing by effort, while to Receive means to be given by another; as,

The thieves took away whatever they could lay their hands upon.
I received a letter from Sanjay yesterday.

πŸ‘‰Remember and recollect

The former means to have in mind, and latter to call to mind; as,

I remember the days gone by.
I cannot recollect your name at present.

πŸ‘‰Roof and Ceiling

Ceiling means the inner roof, whereas the Roof means the entire covering; as,

The ceiling of the roof was of plaster.
The roof of this room leaks now and then.

πŸ‘‰Say, Tell and Speak

Say is used to make a statement or declaration; as,

I say you are a thief.

Tell is used to give orders, narrate a story, or make a communication; as,

Tell him to bring me some water.

Speak means to make a speech; as

He spoke aloud. He spoke on Politics.

πŸ‘‰Rent and Hire

Rent is a tenant’s payment to the landlord for use of house etc., while Hire is wages for use of a thing for personal services; as,

I got a house at a rent of Rs. 10000 per month.
I hired a tonga. I hired a taxi.

πŸ‘‰Scatter and Spread

Scatter means to through or place a number of things in different directions, and to Spread means to cover a certain area with a given thing or substance; as,

He spread butter on the toast.
The wind scattered the leaves.

πŸ‘‰Shade and Shadow

We sit in the shade of a tree.
The tree casts its shadow on the ground.

πŸ‘‰Sink and Drown

Drown is used for living beings only, while Sink is used for lifeless things; as,

The boy was drowned.
The ship sank in the sea.

πŸ‘‰Swim and Float

Swim is for living beings, and Float for lifeless things; as,

A boy is swimming in the tank.
A piece of wood is floating in the river.

πŸ‘‰Tedious and Irksome

A work is Tedious when it is difficult, long and unpleasant; it is Irksome when we have not taste for it; as,

This is a tedious piece of work.
It is very irksome to me to go and talk to him.

πŸ‘‰Tomorrow and on the morrow

Tomorrow means the day after today, on the morrow means the day following that day; as,

I shall reach here tomorrow.
He left the island on the morrow.

πŸ‘‰Transitory and Fleeting

The former is used for the life the world and its pleasures, and latter for the time; as,

Worldly pleasures and joys are transitory.
Time is fleeting.

πŸ‘‰Wear and put on

To Put on denotes single action, and to Wear denotes a continuous action or a habit; as,

He wears a long coat and a white hat.
He put on his hat and went out.


J. Harshit specializes in content writing and storytelling. Writing compelling essays, Letters, & more that engage, inform, and inspire is something he enjoys.

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