Monday, July 25, 2005

Another quiz: Homonyms

This comes from another prof here in Dallas, with a couple more added by me. Reminds me how often students confuse "then" and "than." Answers follow.

1. Government bodies said (A. eminent / B. imminent) domain proceedings were a last resort.

2. Mary said she had an (A. outer-body / B. out-of-body) experience last night.

3. The doctors discussed the merits of (A. preventive medicine / B. preventative medicine).

4. It was a no (A. holes / B. holds) barred discussion.

5. The Ironman competition tests an athlete's (A. mettle / B. metal / C. medal).

6. The river (A. teams / B. teems) with trout.

7. Before it crashed, the plane clipped a (A. guy / B. guide) wire with its wings.

8. It's too early to declare that this team is special. But it can be if given time to (A. jell / gel).

9. Charles Barkley commented on the new design of Allen Iverson’s (A. cornrows / B. cornrolls / C. cornroles).

10. All (A. and / B. in) all, the company’s policies were sufficient.

11. The boss decided the office manager could no longer cut the (A. muster / B. mustard), so the employee was let go.

12. The coach was the one to (A. meet / B. meat / C. mete) out punishment to players who broke rules.

1. A. eminent – rising above other things (imminent – likely to happen without delay)
2. B. out-of-body - of or marked by the psychological sensation of perceiving oneself from an external perspective
3. A or B. both are acceptable, although preventive is preferred
4. B. as in wrestling holds
5. A. mettle – quality of one’s character or temperament
6. B. teem – to be full, as though ready to bring forth young; abound; swarm
7. A. guy – a rope, chain or rod attached to something to steady or guide it
8. A or B. both are acceptable
9. A. cornrows – an African hairstyle of tight braids separated by wide parts
10. B. all in all – as a whole, considering everything
11. B. mustard, not to be confused with "pass muster," an old military phrase.

12. C. mete -- to dole out in small doses.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hrm. i took it, and i actually missed 3 of them. I had no idea what a "guy wire" is - so i just guessed. And cornrows/cornrolls - I can never keep the hairstyles right.

Cut the mustard? I actually thought it was muster - like couldn't make it, like in military. So mustard... where does that come from?

1:53 PM  
Blogger Wayfaring Stranger said...

According to Online Etymology Dictionary (
"To cut the mustard (1907, usually in the negative) is probably from slang mustard 'genuine article, best thing' (1903) on notion of 'that which enhances flavor.'

"'I'm not headlined in the bills, but I'm the mustard in the salad dressing just the same.' [O.Henry, "Cabbages and Kings," 1904]"


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