By Jennifer Copley (Last Updated, November 14, 2013)
Seasonal: (adjective) dependent on or belonging to a specific season, occurring only during that season
Snowball fights among the staff are a seasonal occurrence.
Seasonable: (adjective) appropriate to a given season (e.g., clothing such as scarves in winter)
While the others wore seasonable clothing to face the winter storm, Lana chose to go out in a bikini and high heels.
Sensual: (adjective) arousing the senses, often used to indicate sexual and other pleasures
Egbert felt that the erotic cakes he purchased from a local bakery were delightfully sensual, but others felt they were not appropriate for the church picnic.
Sensuous: (adjective) affecting the senses in a positive way
Everyone wanted to fondle Marilyn’s hat because it was made from such sensuous material.
Some say the primary difference between the two words is that sensual relates specifically to sexual matters whereas sensuous indicates aesthetic enjoyment in general. Others maintain that the words can be used interchangeably.
Slay: (verb) kill
Her plans to slay the neighbours and steal their turnips were thwarted by a rhinoceros that just happened to be passing through town.
Sleigh: (noun) an open vehicle pulled over ice or snow by animals, usually horses or dogs, though occasionally other creatures (e.g., Santa’s sleigh pulled by reindeer)
Inspired by the popularity of dog sled racing, Waldo McButters attempted to introduce the sport of cat sled racing; however, the sport proved less successful due to lack of interest among both humans and cats.
Sleight: (noun) trickery, deceitful craftiness, skill, dexterity (often used with of hand)
Using sleight of hand, Mrs. Terwilliger was able to steal Mrs. Cratchet’s best garden gnome and replace it with a large troll doll.
Spade (noun): a small, narrow shovel
He used a spade to dig the soil where he would plant the seeds from his hamburger bun in the hope of growing a hamburger tree.
Spay: (verb) remove the ovaries from a female animal so that she can no longer reproduce (past tense: spayed)
Reilly did not neuter his cat or spay his dog because he secretly hoped they would fall in love and produce a litter of little cogs.
Stationary: (adjective) fixed in place, still
Jimmy grew bored with the unchanging view on his stationary bicycle, so he stuck it on top of Lorelei’s car and had her drive him around for the duration of his workout.
Stationery: (noun) paper, pens, and other writing materials
Although Vincent chose to overlook Igby’s theft of office stationery, when Igby began robbing their clients at gunpoint, Vincent had no choice but to give him a stern lecture on appropriate office behaviour.
Storey (noun): one floor (level) of a building
Terrence lived on the sixteenth storey of an apartment building in the tenth circle of hell with his wife, six children, and a dog named Mr. Snuffy.
Story: (noun) a fictional narrative, account, anecdote, or lie
His newest story, Peter’s Penultimate Porcupine, spent 10 weeks on the bestseller list.
Malabar found Loki’s story about the dancing pigs highly implausible.
*Although storey is used for building levels in the UK and Canada, story is used for building levels in the U.S.
- 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