Often Confused Word of the Day: Homogeneous

And what is homogeneous so often confused with? Homogenized, for one, as in the word you see on a milk carton.

But before I confuse you, let’s start with a definition:

adjective
\¦hō-mə-¦jē-nē-əs, -nyəs, especially British ¦hä-\
 1
a :  of uniform structure or composition throughout <homogeneous granite> :  consisting of uniform elements (as of people or groups with similar background) <a homogeneous nation/community> 
2
a :  of a similar kind or nature :  comparable, equivalent <the three schools … are relatively homogeneous — B. F. Wright> b :  having no discordant elements :  consistent, compatible <everything about her was homogeneous: her looks, her possessions, the way in which she dressed — Osbert Sitwell>

Note the pronunciation: Ho-mo-JEE-nee-us. I can’t tell you how many times I hear people confuse this–at least pronunciation-wise–with homogeny or homogenized, two perfectly legitimate words that are very different in meaning.

And how does homogeneous get used around the web?

From The Austin Chronicle:

“Boston University lecturer Raul Fernandez believes that one of higher education’s greatest strengths is its diversity. For most students, he suggests, college will be the least homogeneous environment that they will ever live in.”

From an article in Quality Digest:

“The average and range chart handles most situations where the data can be logically organized into homogeneous subgroups.”

And from the “culture” section of the Brown Political Review:

“It could also be that the new rise in technology — Netflix, smartphones, readily available wifi, and TV programs — have brought new awareness to homogeneous white communities about all the “minorities” who have always occupied this country …”

I’ll leave you with one plea: Don’t pronounce homogeneous as ho-MAH-jah-nes. If you remember nothing else, remember that. You’ll sound so much smarter, I promise.

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2 thoughts on “Often Confused Word of the Day: Homogeneous

  1. Pingback: douglasronnie

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