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Undo vs undue

Undo and undue are two words that are pronounced the same way but are spelled differently and mean two different things. We will look at the difference in meaning between undo and undue, where the terms come from and some examples of their use in some sentences.

Undo means to unfasten, to untie, to unwrap, to reverse the effect of something. In computer terminology, undo means to stop a command or to return to an earlier iteration of a program or text. Undo may also be used formally to mean to cause someone’s downfall. The word undo is derived from the Old English word undon, which means to unfasten, to open. Undo is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are undoes, undid, undoing, undoer.


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Undue describes something that is excessive, out of proportion, unjust, illegal or improper. Undue means that the repercussions for an action are much too severe. The word undue is an adjective, it is derived from the prefix un- which means not and the word due, from the Old French word deu which means to owe.

Examples

That sounds like another admission – i.e., he’s been ripping off taxpayers and cheating the country for years, but now he’s happy to undo the outrageous deductions by which he benefited so handsomely if they’ll just give him that nice white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

His undoing was a complex and expensive sting in which he persuaded a second-rate pop star to help supply his film producer alter ego with cocaine. (The Press Gazette)

We support the liquor law but not the undue harassment of people with a Tughlaqi law. (The Indian Express)

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