[ExI] Twin words

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 25 13:12:58 UTC 2011

After the whole effect/affect thread, spike proposed we find and list
what he called "twin words" that sound similar or are spelled
similarly with similar but different meaning.  It's been on my mind
like a background task.  I feel like this search is the verbal
equivalent of Mersenne Primes.

querulous / quarrelous  (i like these for being uncommon words)
insure/ensure (still used incorrectly despite being common enough words)
moot / mute (also frequently mangled in usage)
waft / whiffed (great relationship between these)
haft / heft (the handle has weight)
internment / interment (you could be freed, the other is permanent
aside from the Zombie Apocalypse)
inter / enter (going into:  the ground or more generally)
marque  / mark (is the "brand" derivative of the "indicator"? )
maze / maize ( only applicable as a twin word because labyrinth are
often made in corn fields before the harvest )

I feel like if one thinks too long on the similar-sound aspect of the
twin word search, the tendency is to find homophones and attempt to
bend their definitions closer to each other:

ale / ail
scents / sense

...or completely go off the road and into territory more applicable to poetry:

wanton / wonton   ( A coworker suggested we end all the wonton
destruction; hilarity ensued )
raise / raze / rays  ( We use rays to raze the old before we raise a
new building )
bean / been ( colloquial pronunciation might force these into an
almost-rhyme in some poems )

I might keep a list as I think of more.  Maybe if I have another
page-worth I'll post again.

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