‘Sore’ vs. ‘Soar’: What’s the Difference?

By Kelsey Weeks, updated on August 5, 2023

Do you feel you are ‘soaring,’ flying, or do you feel ‘sore?’ What is the difference between ‘sore’ vs. ‘soar?’ Overall, these two words can get mixed up, but with a refresher, you can learn the difference between the two.

At a glance:

  • ‘Sore’ can be both an adjective and a noun.
  • ‘Soar’ is used as a verb.

If you can get a grasp on the different ways you use the words through parts of speech, you will be able to know which one to use without even knowing the difference in meaning. To ensure that you can also learn the differences in their meaning and their roots, continue reading.

What is the Difference Between ‘Sore’ and ‘Soar?’

Due to being homophones, ‘sore’ and ‘soar’ sound the sound but have different meanings. As a refresher, homophones are words in the English language that sound the same, are spelled differently, and have different meanings. Although these words sound the same, they cannot be used interchangeably, so ensure that you learn the difference between ‘sore’ and soar.’

  • ‘Sore’s’ etymology or origins come from Middle English sor, meaning distress. It seems that the word was first used for emotional pain and distress, but the word has progressed and is used in multiple contexts now that will be explored in the definition piece.
  • Although ‘Soar’ is spelled only one vowel differently, it comes from the Middle English 'soren', meaning to fly upward or fly high. The word also has additional meanings, but it has maintained its original meaning quite consistently.

Definition of ‘Sore': What Does it Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘sore’ can be an adjective or noun.

As an adjective, it means:

  • Causing emotional pain or distress
    • Physically tender (as from overuse or injury) or feeling affected by pain
  • Attended by difficulties, hardship, exertion
  • Angry, irked

As a noun, it means:

  • A localized sore spot on the body
    • Especially an ulcer with the tissues ruptured or abraded and usually with infection.
  • A source of pain, vexation, or affliction

Synonyms of ‘Sore’

  • Aching
  • Achy
  • Afflictive
  • Hurting
  • Nasty
  • Painful
  • Achingly
  • Awful
  • Angry
  • Indignant
  • Enraged
  • Mad
  • Outraged
  • Infuriated
  • Angered
  • Bitter
  • Terribly
  • Incredibly
  • Very
  • Badly
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • Ache
  • Wart
  • Welt
  • Blister

Antonyms of ‘Sore’

  • Ease
  • Comfort
  • Somewhat
  • Little
  • Warm
  • Sweet
  • Sympathetic
  • Pleased
  • Delighted
  • Accepting
  • Painless
  • Healing

Definition of ‘Soar': What Does it Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘soar’ is used as a verb.

As a verb, it means:

  • To fly aloft or about
    • To sail or hover in the air, often at a great height or glide.
    • To rise or increase dramatically as in position value or price.
    • To ascend to a higher or more exalted level
    • To rise to majestic stature

Synonyms of ‘Soar’

  • Rise
  • Climb
  • Ascend
  • Lift
  • Up
  • Arise
  • Flies
  • Hober
  • Glide
  • Increase
  • Skyrocket
  • Rocket
  • Surge
  • Peak
  • Shoot up

Antonyms of ‘Soar’

  • Plummet
  • Tumble
  • Plunge
  • Fall
  • Slump
  • Drop
  • Descend
  • Decline

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Sore’ and ‘Soar’

Even with different spellings and meanings, ‘sore’ and ‘soar’ have the same phonetic spelling due to being homophones.  You can practice the pronunciation here, and once you have mastered the definitions, you’ll be ready to use these words in reading and writing.

  • The phonetic spelling of 'sore’ and ‘soar’ is:


When to use ‘Sore’ vs. ‘Soar’

Here are examples of when to use ‘sore’ and ‘soar.’

  • Use ‘sore’ when mentioning feelings.

In this example, you could inform someone:

Going back to school is a ‘sore’ subject for many teenagers in the month of August.

  • Use ‘sore’ in a conversation discussing pain or body tenderness.

For example, one can say:

My whole body is ‘sore’ after the intense workout that we did yesterday together.

  • You can use ‘soar’ when discussing a dramatic increase.

As an example, someone may inform their investors:

Our profits this quarter have ‘soared’ into the next threshold of our plan. 

  • You can also use ‘soar’ when talking about flying.

You may tell someone:

I noticed the bird ‘soaring’ over the barren part of the desert, so it must see something to eat.

Sample Sentences Using 'Sore'

Review these sample sentences to learn to use ‘sore’ when speaking and writing, remembering that this is the noun and adjective of the two.

  • After falling on his new skateboard, the child had a ‘sore’ on both knees. Thankfully, he chose to go clean them up to be able to continue skating.
  • She happened to be in a car accident yesterday, so she is ‘sore’ all over.
  • Everyone is currently getting a ‘sore’ throat with school starting back.
  • My friend alluded to being ‘sore’ with me because I forgot the sweater that I borrowed.
  • Ms. Dawn has a ‘sore’ on her hand from not wearing an oven mitt when handling hot food.
  • Shane asked them not to bring up the movie release again because it is a ‘sore’ subject that he was not able to make the premiere.
  • The vet gave the dog a cone because he could not stop licking his ‘sore,’ which wouldn’t heal if he kept licking.

Sample Sentences Using 'Soar'

Review these sample sentences to learn how to use ‘soar’ when writing or talking about increasing or rising.

  • The price of basic products is going to ‘soar’  toward unaffordable when people realize that there is a shortage.
  • The kite that they purchased was the best one that they had ever used because it would ‘soar’ above all other kites at the park.
  • The UFO ‘soared’ so quickly through the sky that a lot of people observing knew it couldn’t be an aircraft made by current technology.
  • Even though fewer people are going to the movie theater, current box offices are ‘soaring’ with the summer movie releases.

Closing Words on ‘Sore’ vs. ‘Soar’

A few reminders on ‘sore’ vs. ‘soar’:

  • ‘Sore’ is used as an adjective or noun and typically relates to some injury or discomfort.
  • ‘Soar’ is used as a verb and typically relates to increasing, rising, or flying.

Overall, learning the difference between ‘sore’ and ‘soar’ will allow clear and effective communication. Knowing the difference will allow you not to make a ‘sore’ mistake’ and ‘soar’ in the eyes of academics and professionals.

All posts on our website explain how to use tricky words correctly. Check back frequently to reduce the errors in your writing. You can find additional resources on English words in the confusing words section.

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Written By:
Kelsey Weeks
Kelsey Weeks is currently a school counselor at a high school and a previous English teacher. She loves helping others with literacy, learning more, and exploring nature. She has an undergrad in English with an emphasis on secondary education and an M.A. in Applied Psychology from NYU.

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