As you can see, they’re a mixed bag. They are not of the obvious affect/effect type, because they are not as frequently used. Some of them are more literary or formal–which means that they will appear in the kind of writing where they will stand out like a sore thumb to informed readers.
- adverse to / averse to
- cache / cachet
- coruscating / excoriating
- flaunt / flout
- home in on / hone in on
- veracious / voracious
Those I’ve yet to blog fully about are below (examples from or adapted from, Oxford Online Dictionary)
- decry / descry
If you decry something, you express your disapproval of it:
e.g. They decried human rights abuses.
If you descry something or someone, you catch a glimpse of them, often from a distance and with difficulty:
e.g. She descried two figures approaching.
- defuse / diffuse
You defuse an explosive device, and as a metaphor, a tense or explosive situation:
e.g. The situation was defused by quick-thinking American officers.
If something diffuses it spreads, and if you diffuse it, you spread it:
e.g. technologies diffuse rapidly;
the problem is how to diffuse power without creating anarchy.
- elusive / illusive
Something elusive is difficult to find or get; it eludes you.
e.g. Success will become ever more elusive;
Happiness is an elusive concept, rather like love.
Something illusive is an illusion. However, the word is almost always used by mistake for elusive:
e.g. X Sharks up to forty feet are quite common, although when Helen was there they proved to be illusive.
(Should be elusive.)
- subscribe to / ascribe to
If you subscribe to an idea or a suggestion, you believe in it or agree with it. (In other words, you “sign up” to that idea, in the same way as you subscribe to online news or to a magazine.)
e.g We prefer to subscribe to an alternative explanation.
If you ascribe something to a particular event or situation, you believe that event or situation caused it:
e.g He ascribed Jane’s short temper to her upset stomach.
And if you ascribe a quality to someone, you believe that they have that quality:
e.g. Tough-mindedness is a quality commonly ascribed to top bosses.