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Vindictive vs. Vindicate
- These words look very similar, so their definitions must be somewhat related. Right? Actually, the two words are very different. To be vindictive means to have a very strong desire for revenge.
- As for vindicate, it means to prove oneself right. What, exactly, does this mean? Say you claim to your friends that you will score at the 95th percentile on the verbal. They doubt your claim, and lightly tease you on your lofty and seemingly unattainable goal. Now, it’s up to you to prove that you can do it. If you score at the 95th percentile on test day, then you’ve vindicated yourself. You’ve proven that your original claim was correct. If you score way below that…well, then you avoid your friends for some time.
Vicarious vs. Vicissitude
- Enjoying something through another person’s experiences—in this case the host of the travel show—is to live vicariously. The contexts, of course, can vary widely. Maybe your best friend has told you all about his or her graduate school experiences via weekly blog posts. Now you, too, feel that you’ve gone through grad school. That’s living vicariously.
- A vicissitude is any change in one’s circumstances, usually for the worse. That is, life is full of ups and down that are beyond our control. Those are the vicissitudes. Speaking of, traveling—especially any of those quit-your-job six-week jaunts through Europe—is full of vicissitudes, so again, sometimes it’s better to stay at home and tune into the travel station (as long as the remote control doesn’t give out).
Venal vs. Venial
- You definitely do not want to confuse these two. To call someone venal is to say they are corrupt, and likely to accept bribes.
- To be venial actually doesn’t refer to a person but rather a sin or an offense. A venial offense is one that is minor and pardonable.
Veracious vs. Voracious
These words not only deviate by only one letter, they also sound very similar. As for their definitions, you definitely do not want to confuse them. Veracious means truthful; voracious means hungry, either literally or figuratively.
Venerate vs. Enervate
To venerate someone is to respect that person deeply. To enervate, on the other hand, is to sap that person of energy.