From the Word Wizard Club...
October 15, 2012

Hear It!

sheer

Which Means:

Total, complete.

As In:

Image The kids screamed in sheer delight on the rollercoaster ride.

Heads Up!

Sheer can also mean a vertical (straight up and down) drop: a sheer cliff.

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shear

Which Means:

To remove (fleece or hair) by cutting or clipping.

As In:

Image Every spring the farmer works hard to shear his sheep.

Heads Up!

Be careful not to shear the EAR of the animal!

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vein

Which Means:

A vessel or tube that carries blood to the heart.

As In:

Image Can you see a vein beneath your skin?

Heads Up!

You can remember this one by associating 'vein' with 'vessel'. Both have VE at the beginning.

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vane

Which Means:

A device attached to the top of a building that turns easily to show the direction of the wind.

As In:

Image My uncle liked collecting a vane from every old farm auction he could.

Heads Up!

Vane' is short for 'weathervane'.

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vain

Which Means:

Overly concerned with and proud of how you look, the things you own, and what you have done.

As In:

Image The vain man combed his hair for hours, thinking of how handsome he was.

Heads Up!

The doctor looked at my arm for a vein in vain, so we looked outside at the vane.

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colonel

Which Means:

A military officer in some US military branches who ranks above a lieutenant.

As In:

Image The colonel was wounded in war and wore a patch over one eye.

Heads Up!

Remember that a colonel (a person) has a colon (a large intestine).

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kernel

Which Means:

A grain or seed, either the inner soft part, or the whole seed.

As In:

Image The boy ate one kernel at a time.

Heads Up!

How can you remember these two homonyms? The colonel ate a kernel of corn!

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air

Which Means:

What we breathe every day; the colorless, odorless, tasteless mixture of gases and oxygen.

As In:

Image The pool raft was filled with air, and floated on top of the water.

Heads Up!

The A in 'air' is long, and the I is silent.

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heir

Which Means:

Someone who receives the belongings of another person when that person dies.

As In:

Image Will the king's son be heir to the throne after the king dies?

Heads Up!

The H in 'heir' is silent. It is pronounced the same as 'air'.

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err

Which Means:

To make a mistake or error.

As In:

Image The cook did not like to err in competitions.

Heads Up!

This word is pronounced just like 'air' or 'ur' if you want to distinguish it from the others.

Now that you have reviewed the words, challenge your memory!

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