Soar and Sore

Commonly Confused Words

soar and sore
An eagle can soar high above a storm. (Michael DeFreitas/roberthardin/Getty Images)

The words soar and sore are homophones: they sound alike but have different meanings.

Definitions

The verb soar means to rise or fly high in the air. Soar also means to rise above the ordinary level.

As an adjective, sore means feeling pain, sorrow, distress, or resentment. The noun sore refers to a blister or some other source of pain or irritation.

Examples

  • Oscar watched the spotted eagle soar and then sweep low.
  • "The housing market in Canada's largest cities has priced out many would-be buyers, leaving them stuck in their current homes as new listings hit six-year lows and prices soar."
    (Reuters, "Moving on Up? Not in This Canadian Housing Market." The New York Times, June 8, 2016)
     
  • "Another time she wakened to see a ball of fire, a kind of lit-up soap bubble, soar from one roof to another and sink behind it. She was aware that what she saw was the spirit of someone who had just died."
    (Isaac Bashevis Singer, "The Key." A Friend of Kafka and Other Stories, 1970)
  • If you feel sore after exercising, you may need to wait a day or two before you stretch.
  • Even a small loan between friends can become a sore point in the relationship.
     
  • "The Chambers of Commerce are still trying to build a freeway through the Ozarks, and I am still sore about it."
    (Roy Reed, Looking for Hogeye. University of North Carolina Press, 1986)

     

    Idiom Alerts

    • The expression sore loser refers to someone who becomes angry or upset after losing a fair competition.
      "In public he was willing to laugh at himself but in private he was not, and whether the game was billiards or business, he was a very sore loser. When he could fire the men he thought had betrayed him he would."
      (John D. Seelye, Mark Twain in the Movies. Viking, 1977)
       
    • The expression sore spot refers to something that's physically or mentally painful or sensitive.
      "Though she had long since grown used to my dedication at the office and now accepted it as part of my character, I knew it had always been a sore spot with her."
      (Nicholas Sparks, The Wedding. Perfection Learning, 2005)
       
    • The expression sight for sore eyes refers to someone or something that's a welcome sight and/or particularly attractive.
      "My! Mrs. Evans! you are certainly a sight for sore eyes! I don't know how you manage to look so unruffled and cool and young! With all those children."
      (James Baldwin, Blues for Mister Charlie. Dial Press, 1964)

    Practice


    (a) In 1903, the Wright Brothers became the first humans to _____ aloft in a power-driven airplane.

    (b) After spending the night on the living room sofa, I woke up feeling _____ all over.

    (c) "The Evening Star Baptist Church was crowded when I arrived and the service had begun. The members were rousing a song, urging the music to _____ beyond all physical boundaries."
    (Maya Angelou, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas. Random House, 1997)
     

    Answers to Practice Exercises

     

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

    Answers to Practice Exercises: Soar and Sore

    (a) In 1903, the Wright Brothers became the first humans to soar aloft in a power-driven airplane.

    (b) After spending the night on the living room sofa, I woke up feeling sore all over.

    (c) "The Evening Star Baptist Church was crowded when I arrived and the service had begun. The members were rousing a song, urging the music to soar beyond all physical boundaries."
    (Maya Angelou, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas.

    Random House, 1997)

     

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words