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Read the following extract from The Funny Dictionary. Can you work out how the student who gave the funny definition made their mistake?
Here are some explanations about how the students got confused.
Parsimonious means frugal or stingy with money; but the student confuses parsimonious with parson (a kind of priest). Perhaps the child is unconsciously saying something about the generosity, or lack of it, of clergy?
A pas de deuz is a dance for two. But the student mistakes pas for pa (a word for dad or father). The French pas and the word pa are similarly pronounced.
Pathology is the study of disease (path comes from the Greek pathos, meaning feeling or suffering). The suffix -ology means the study of. Unfortunately, however, the student thinks pathology means the study of paths or pathways.
A pedagogue is a teacher. The prefixes ped-, pedi-, and pedo- indicates that foot or child modifies the word that follows the prefix. Unfortunately, the student opts for foot in this example, rather than child (pedagogue means lead a child).
Peerless means without peer or matchless or beyond compare. Here, peer means a person of the same age, status, or group. But peer also means to look intently or with difficulty at someone or something. So the student mistakenly thinks peerless means the inability to look or see.
In the pencil example, the student simply confuses pencil for penicillin, perhaps as the result of the teacher's garbled pronunciation.
Pensive means thoughtful. But the student is thinking of expensive. The prefix ex- means out or out of. It can also mean former. Thus the student mistakenly believes pensive is the opposite of expensive and hence cheap.
The child who defines peruse (which means to read thoroughly or carefully) as "belonging to Peru", mishears or misunderstands peruse for Peru's.
The student who gives the funny definition for petroleum confuses petroleum (a fuel) with linoleum (a laminate flooring).
Can you explain the rest of the funny definitions extracted above?
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