Words that sound different than their meanings, a curated list

POSTED January 31, 2013
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Hi there. I’m sure you can agree that lists are sometimes comforting. Because of that, I’ve begun a list of words that sound different from their meaning. All entries below are taken from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. If you have a word to suggest, leave it in the comment section below and I will add it to our list. Who knows, perhaps someday this list will be absolutely complete. Thank you and I hope you find this list comforting.


Restive ˈres-tiv, adj.

1. stubbornly resisting control

2. marked by impatience or uneasiness


Nonplus ˌnän-ˈpləs, n.

1. a state of bafflement or perplexity

As a transitive verb:

1. to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do


Inflamamable in-ˈfla-mə-bəl, adj.

1. flammable


Noisome ˈnȯi-səm, adj.

1. offensive to the senses and especially to the sense of smell


 Spendthrift ˈspen(d)-ˌthrift, n.

1. a person who spends improvidently or wastefully


Trenchant /ˈtren-chənt, adj.

1. keen, sharp

2. vigorously effective and articulate

3. sharply perceptive : penetrating


Disabuse ˌdis-ə-ˈbyüz, trans. v.

1. to free from error, fallacy or misconception


Enormity i-ˈnȯr-mə-tē, n.

1. an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act

2. the quality or state of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous; especially : great wickedness


Fulsome ˈfu̇l-səm, adj.

2. aesthetically, morally, or generally offensive

3. exceeding the bounds of good taste : overdone

4. excessively complimentary or flattering


Toothsome ˈtüth-səm, adj.

1. a : agreeable, attractive

   b : sexually attractive

2. of palatable flavor and pleasing texture


Malinger mə-ˈliŋ-gər , trans. v.

1. to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness so as to avoid duty or work


Ingenuous in-ˈjen-yə-wəs, adj.

2. a : showing innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness

    b : lacking craft or subtlety

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