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Alphadictionary.com

250 Often Confused Words • D


Below are the words beginning on D of a list of more than 250 words that speakers and writers of English often confuse. They are called false cognates because they sound or are written so similarly that they are often confused. Even if you are an excellent writer, you should read through this list; otherwise, how will you know if you are confusing any words? We will soon have a quiz that will help you check your knowledge of the most common false English cognates.


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• D •
WORDS DEFINITIONS & EXAMPLES
dairy
diary
A dairy is a farm where milk and milk products are produced: Madeleine grew up on a dairy and knows how to churn butter.
A diary is a daily journal: Rhoda Book writes in her diary for two hours every night.
deduction
induction
Deduction is the explanation of particular facts from a general principle. Since all robins have red breasts and that bird has a red breast, it must be a robin.
Induction is drawing a general principle from a particular set of facts: I've seen several robins and they all have red breasts, so robins must have red breasts.
denote
connote
See connote, denote.
descendant
devise
A descendant is a noun referring to a person who descends from a particular ancestor, as a descendant of Robert E. Lee.
Descendent is an adjective meaning "descended" or "descending", as a species descendent from the ancestors of chimpanzees.
describe
ascribe
See ascribe, describe.
desert
dessert
Desert means "to abandon" (and can also be a noun, meaning "a wasteland"): Cooley deserted his family when they all got tattoos and lip piercings.
Dessert is the sweet course of a meal: The whole family wanted to have cake for dessert (but see just deserts).
diary
dairy
See dairy, diary.
different from
different than
Different from is the standard usage when comparing two things: Suzie's sweater is different from Mary's. Don't say, "Different than something else."
disassemble
dissemble
Disassemble means to take apart.
Dissemble means "to mislead or deceive", as to dissemble about disassembling the bicycle.
discreet
discrete
Discreet means "modest and prudent": Please be discreet about the surprise party, we don't want her to find out.
Discrete means "separate and distinct": Even though they were married, they kept their money in two discrete accounts.
disinterested
uninterested
Disinterested is an adjective that means "unbiased or impartial": Since she had nothing at stake, she was a disinterested party in the matter.
Uninterested means "not interested": Anita Job was just uninterested in the offer.
dispersion
aspersion
See aspersion, dispersion.
divers
diverse
Divers means "several": You can take that statement in divers ways.
Diverse means "different or varied": There are many diverse cultures in the world.
doughty
dowdy
Doughty means "plucky, brave, toughish": Spearman is a doughty player who never gives up.
Dowdy means "a bit shabby, old-fashioned": Maude Lynn Dresser loves that dowdy old dress her mother gave her.
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Now test your knowledge of these words here.