Confusing Word Pairs

They Can Be Opposites

Paul V. Hartman

euphuism       an affectedly elegant language or literary style
euphemism      a substitute word or phrase which is less offensive

sanguine       cheerful, confident.
sanguinary     bloody.

sinecure       a position or office that requires little or no work.
cynosure       something acting as a center of attention.

saturnine      gloomy, morose.
saturnalia     a golden age; a happy period.

elicit         (verb) to cause to be revealed
illicit        (adjective) illegal; naughty  

veracity       truthfulness.
voracity       greed.

hubristic      excessive pride; arrogance.
heuristic      a speculation, guiding one in an investigation.

cosmology      study of origin, structure, & dynamics of the universe.
cosmetology    the study of cosmetics and their use.  

sui generis    unique; one of a kind.
soi disant     pretended, self-styled; would-be.

flammable      capable of bursting into flames; easily ignited.
inflammable    capable of bursting into flames; easily ignited.

uninterested   having no interest.
disinterested  having no bias in the outcome.

abstruse       a hard to understand concept; deep, complex, arcane.
obtuse         a dull witted person; slow to understand; not sharp.

limpid         crystal clear.
languid        lacking energy or vitality.

antipathy      a strong feeling of revulsion.
antipodes      a place on earth exactly opposite to a reference point.

flatus         gas generated by the intestine.
afflatus       divine inspiration!     

timidity       hesitant or fearful.
temerity       reckless boldness.

spacious       unbounded; extensive.
specious       appearing deceptively good looking or correct.

carnivorous    meat eater.
omnivorous     fondness for all types or kinds of things.

magnificent    spendid; exalted; outstanding.
magniloquent   lofty and extravagant; boastful.

abrogate       abolish or annul by authority.
arrogate       to take, claim, or assume, without right.

picturesque    striking or interesting; like a picture.
picaresque     having to do with vagabonds and their adventures.

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