Mucus vs Mucous

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Mucus

Meaning:

noun that refers to thick, slimy substance produced by the lining of the nose and throat, used to keep the passages moist and to trap dust and other particles.

Examples:

1. When you have a cold, your body produces more mucus to help trap and remove viruses from your respiratory system.

2. The doctor explained that the green color of the mucus in his throat could be a sign of infection.

3. Allergies can lead to an overproduction of mucus, causing nasal congestion and sneezing.

Mucous

Meaning:

adjective that refers to any thick, viscous, slippery substance produced by the lining of certain membranes in the body, usually serving a lubricating or protective purpose.

Examples:

1. The mucous membranes in the digestive tract help with the absorption of nutrients and the protection of the stomach lining.

2. A mucous secretion from the glands in the eyes helps keep the surface moist and free from foreign particles.

3. The mucous lining of the respiratory system plays a vital role in trapping and expelling harmful substances from the airways.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Mucus

1. Phlegm

2. Sputum

3. Secretion

1. Dryness

2. Clearness

3. Clarity

4. Healthiness

5. Absence of secretion

Mucous

1. Viscous

2. Slimy

3. Gel-like

1. Dry

2. Arid

3. Moistureless

4. Desiccated

5. Non-slimy

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Mucus", "Mucous".

1. Keep in mind that mucus is a noun, while mucous is an adjective.

2. If you are unsure, double check by looking up the word or consulting a dictionary.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

When should the word 'mucus' be used?

Mucus should be used to refer to the thick, slimy substance produced by the lining of the nose and throat. This substance helps to keep the passages moist, and to trap dust and other particles.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'mucous'?

Mucous should be used as an adjective to refer to any thick, viscous, slippery substance produced by the lining of certain membranes in the body, usually serving a lubricating or protective purpose.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

Yes, both words share the same pronunciation, with the emphasis being placed on the second syllable.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

A common mistake people make when using these two words is thinking that mucous is a synonym for mucus, when in fact it has a slightly different meaning. Additionally, people often mistake the pronunciation of these words, stressing the first syllable instead of the second.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. When you have a cold, your body produces a lot of _____ to help trap viruses and bacteria.

2. The _____ membrane in the nose helps to keep the airways moist.

3. If you blow your nose and notice green or yellow _____, it might be a sign of an infection.

4. The eyes also have a _____ layer to help protect them from dust and debris.

5. Its common to have an increase in _____ production when youre experiencing allergies.

6. The inner lining of the mouth has a _____ texture which helps in the early stages of digestion.

1. When you have a cold, your body produces a lot of mucus to help trap viruses and bacteria.

Explanation: Here, the word refers to the actual substance produced by the body, which is the noun mucus.

2. The mucous membrane in the nose helps to keep the airways moist.

Explanation: The term mucous membrane is an adjective-noun combination. Mucous in this case describes the kind of membrane.

3. If you blow your nose and notice green or yellow mucus, it might be a sign of an infection.

Explanation: Again, the reference is to the substance itself, so the noun mucus is appropriate.

4. The eyes also have a mucous layer to help protect them from dust and debris.

Explanation: In this sentence, mucous is an adjective describing the kind of layer the eyes have.

5. Its common to have an increase in mucus production when youre experiencing allergies.

Explanation: The focus here is on the substance that is produced, making mucus the right choice.

6. The inner lining of the mouth has a mucous texture which helps in the early stages of digestion.

Explanation: Here, mucous describes the texture of the inner lining, making the adjective form the right pick.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.