By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated, November 14, 2013)
Callous: (adjective) cruel and insensitive
Minnie showed a callous disregard for Sylvester, complaining that he would make them late as he struggled to free himself from the grand piano that had fallen on him.
Callus: (adjective) a bit of skin that has become thickened and hardened, usually due to friction
Jiminy developed a callus on his hand from petting Milly’s armadillo.
Canvas: (noun) a type of rough, strong cloth, typically used to make tents, boat sails, and bags
The bag that Andy used to smuggle lobsters over the border was made from canvas.
Canvass: (verb) talk to people in the area to seek their votes for a particular political candidate or to get support for an idea or project.
Elmer Wignickle went door to door, canvassing to raise support for his campaign to secure voting rights for hedgehogs.
Capital: (noun) city or town with an official seat of government within a given political entity (e.g., nation or state); (noun) city that is an activity hub or center; (noun) money, property, or other resources; (noun) net worth of a business; (adjective) excellent, first-rate; (adjective) punishable by death (e.g.., capital offense); (adjective) involving the use of wealth for investment
Craptown was the state’s capital.
They needed to raise capital to start their warthog grooming business.
Because he had committed a capital offence, John Doe was sentenced to die by hanging, but his punishment was subsequently reduced to watching every episode of Jersey Shore (John’s pleas to have his original sentence reinstated were rejected by the judge due to the heinousness of his crimes).
Capitol: (noun) building or complex where state legislature/U.S. Congress meets
The legislators met at the capitol to discuss the new anti-YOLO legislation.
Censor: (verb) to ban or remove something, usually parts of a movie, television show, book, or letter; (noun) the person who censors things
He censored all references to Lord Squiggleby’s unfortunate proclivities before forwarding Lady Millipede’s e-mail to the Duchess of Squawkton.
Censure: (verb) strongly criticize, often in an official capacity
Lord Squiggleby was censured when his unfortunate proclivities became public knowledge during the filming of the new MTV reality show, “Who Wants to Marry a Squiggleby?”
Cereal: (noun) an edible grass grain (often refers to products made from such grains)
Darth Vader would only eat cereals that included colourful marshmallows.
Serial: (adjective) occurring or arranged in a series
He was a serial offender at the local pet shops, stealing a hamster from each store he visited until he had enough rodents to create his mighty hamster army.
Chord: (noun) a musical note combination
Whittacker played a few chords on his piccolo before throwing it across the room in frustration at his inability to master the instrument within a single afternoon.
Cord: (noun) a flexible cable, string, or rope
For his newest art project, Rutager strung sixteen beer cans, two Pez dispensers, and a plastic angel on a single cord, hung them around the neck of his most attractive cow, and took photos of the cow in various poses.
Cite: (verb) mention (usually as an example), refer to (often in the context of citing sources within academic works); (verb) order to appear in court on particular charges
Jellica Twollup cited the work of Dorothy Retallack to back up her assertion that plants love classical music and hate hard rock.
Mack McMacklemack was cited on the charge of stealing pink plastic garden flamingos to use as croquet mallets.
Sight: (noun) vision; (noun) something seen, something worth seeing
Nelda’s sight was poor, particularly in the dark when she would often mistake her husband for a potted plant.
Of all the sights that Tig Twigger had seen that day, the chainsaw juggling clown riding a unicycle on the back of a tap dancing unicorn had been the most impressive.
Site: (noun) a location, the place where something (such as a house) will be located or is located
The site that Nellie had chosen for her new home was nearly perfect; the only problems were that she didn’t actually own the property and there was currently a large white government building there.
Click: (noun) a short, sharp sound; (verb) make a short, sharp sound
When Bobby heard the click, he realized that the CIA was tapping his phone to discover his secret haggis recipe.
She clicked her heels together and tap danced right out of the Internal Revenue Service office.
Clique: (noun) a small, exclusive group or club
Belinda was excluded from the clique because they only accepted girls with freckled noses and personality disorders.
Climatic: (adjective) related to climate
Jezebel knew that climatic conditions would not be good for the picnic when she saw the tornado approaching.
Climactic: (adjective) the most exciting or important part of something (often a book or movie), forming a climax
The novel reached its climactic finale when Lord Sexington slew the sparkly vampire, after which he stood heroically on a rock baring his rippling chest to the Scottish wind to pose for the cover photo.
Coarse: (adjective) rough in texture, composed of large pieces, rude or unrefined
Finn thought that Melba’s sandpaper sheets were too coarse, but Melba said that sandpaper sheets and regular colonic cleanses were the keys to good health.
Course: (noun) a direction, path, or series of classes focused on a single subject
Millicent took a course in pseudo-intellectual postmodern analysis of cross-cultural flatulence at the University of Glenbeckingham.
Complacent: (adjective) self-satisfied, satisfied with the way things are, not wanting to change
Smitty had grown complacent, but Brenda still wanted to escape from the Fortress of Doom.
Complaisant: (adjective) eager or willing to please others
Because he was a complaisant person by nature, Schrodinger let the zombies consume him.
Complement: (verb) complete, make whole, balance
The hot dog slices complemented the spaghetti nicely, but the skittles were a bit too much.
Compliment: (noun) expression of admiration, congratulation, or praise; (verb) praise, flatter
Arty had such difficulty accepting compliments that he usually pepper sprayed anyone who praised him.
Wexford complimented Xena on her well-behaved snakes.
Console: (noun) a control panel for a piece of electronic equipment; (noun) a TV or audio system cabinet
While working on her doomsday device, Lenora spilled liquid plutonium and Doritos all over her computer console.
Consul: (noun) a government-appointed official who resides in a foreign country to represent his or her own government’s commercial interests and citizens
The consul demanded greater recognition for her nation’s contribution to spork technology.
Counsel: (noun) guidance, advice, the act of advising; (verb) advise, give counsel, recommend
Geraldine’s wise counsel prevented Smitty from attempting to break the record for most bicycle parts ever eaten.
Norman counseled Yvonne to throw away the green, furry shrimp casserole.
Council: (noun) an assembly whose purpose is consultation or discussion, an advisory or legislative body
The council met to discuss plans for scheduling further meetings to discuss the scheduling of additional meetings.
Credible: (adjective) believable, convincing, or trustworthy
Cookie Monster was not considered a credible witness in the Cookie Heist trial.
Credulous: (adjective) overly trusting, gullible (Its opposite term, incredulous, means sceptical.)
Credulous by nature, Albert trusted Portia Poodleater’s assurance that she would take good care of his dogs while he was away on business.
Cue: (noun) signal or sign that provides information about what is taking place or indicates the need to take a particular action, (noun) a wooden rod (typically used to play pool)
The director gave the cue for the dancing pumpkins to take the stage.
Chester whacked Marty over the head with his pool cue in revenge for teaching his parrot to sing Achy Breaky Heart.
Queue: (noun) A lineup of people waiting for something
Outside the theater, Rita joined the queue for “Awesome Zombie Space Ship Shark Attack Robot Car Wars,” but when she reached the ticket window, she realized that she had mistakenly waited in line for tickets to “The Runaway Bride.”
Currant: (noun) A small dried grape, often used in baking
Wilson put currants in everything he baked, including his hot dog and noodle casserole.
Current: (adjective) existing or happening now, up to date; (noun) the continuous movement of electricity, air, or water
Mikey hadn’t kept up with current events because he had been dead for 36 years.
A current of electricity gave Mikey superpowers, but he couldn’t enjoy them because the electricity killed him 30 seconds later.
- Casagrande, J. (2006). Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language tor Fun and Spite. Penguin, New York.
- Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries. (2004). 100 Words Almost Everyone Confuses & Misuses. Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin Company.
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2013). Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Merrriam-Webster.com.
- O’Conner, P. T. (1996). Woe Is I, the Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.
- Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. (2013). Oxford University Press. OALD8.OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com.