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  • Macaron vs. macaroonA macaron is a sandwichlike French confection. A macaroon is a light cookie often containing almonds or coconut.
  • Machiavellian
  • Machine gun vs. machine-gun
  • Macintosh, mackintosh, McIntoshMacintosh: an Apple computer. Mackintosh: a stye of raincoat. McIntosh: a North American red apple.
  • Maddening vs. maddingThe traditional form of the idiom is madding crowd.
  • Magnate vs. magnetMagnate: a powerful person in a business or industry. Magnet: an object with a magnetic field.
  • Magnum opusa great achievement, especially an artistic one, and especially the greatest work of someone's artistic career.
  • Make do vs. make dueMake do is the standard form.
  • Make hay1. short for make hay while the sun shines, referring to the wisdom of taking advantage of opportunities before they go away; 2. to turn (something) to one's advantage.
  • Maleficent vs. malevolentMalevolent: ill-willed without action. Maleficent: ill-willed with action.
  • Mancessionan unfortunate neologism referring to the recession's especial effects on men.
  • Maneuver vs. manoeuvremaneuver in the U.S.; manoeuvre everywhere else.
  • Manner vs. manorManner: 1. a way of doing something; 2. a bearing; 3. a type. Manor: 1. a lord's estate; 2. a large country house.
  • Mantel vs. mantleMantle: 1. a loose, sleeveless coat or cloak; 2. something that covers; 3. the layer of the Earth between the crust and the core; 4. the cerebral cortex. Mantel: an ornamental shelf above a fireplace.
  • Many vs. muchMany modifies countable nouns. Much modifies uncountable nouns.
  • Marinade vs. marinateMarinade: a liquid mixture in which meat is soaked before cooking. Marinate: to soak meat in marinade.
  • Marry vs. merryMarry: 1. to become someone's husband or wife; 2. to officiate a marriage ceremony. Merry: jolly or festive.
  • Marshal vs. martialMartial: of or relating to war or the military. Marshal: 1. a person holding one of various official positions; 2. to enlist, arrange, organize, or gather (especially resources or military personnel).
  • Masterful vs. masterlyHistorically they have differed, but today they both mean with virtuosic skill.
  • Materiel vs. materialMaterial: stuff: Materiel: military stuff.
  • Math vs. mathsMath in North America; maths everywhere else.
  • Matrix
  • Maul vs. mullMaul: 1. to injure by beating; 2. to lacerate; 3. a heavy hammer. Mull: to ponder.
  • Mayonnaise vs. mayonaiseMayonnaise is the standard spelling.
  • Mcjob
  • Mea culpaan elaborate and apparently heartfelt apology.
  • Meager vs. meagremeager in the U.S.; meagre everywhere else.
  • Mealy-mouthedtending to say things in indirect, evasive, or deceptive ways.
  • MeansIt can be either singular or plural, depending on context.
  • Medal, meddle, metal, mettleMedal: a piece of metal given as an award. Metal: the category of hard, shiny elements. Mettle: courage or quality of character. Meddle: to intrude on another's affairs.
  • Media vs. mediumsBoth plurals are commonly used, though each tends to appear more often in certain uses.
  • Mediator vs. moderatorMediator: one who helps resolve a dispute. Moderator: one who presides over a discussion.
  • Melted vs. moltenBoth are past-tense and past-participial inflections of melt, but molten is usually reserved for metals and minerals.
  • Memento moria reminder of mortality.
  • Menscha decent person with many good qualities.
  • MetaToday, the prefix usually means about itself, and it doubles as a standalone adjective.
  • Metaphoric vs. metaphoricalThe longer form is preferred.
  • Meteoroid, meteor, meteorite (and meteoric)Meteoroids are in space. Meteors are in earth's atmosphere. Meteorites hit the ground.
  • Meter vs. metreFor units of measurement, it's meter in the U.S. and metre outside the U.S. Measuring devices are spelled meter everywhere.
  • Methinksit seems to me.
  • Mic vs. mikeThe abbreviation of microphone is not yet settled.
  • Mice vs. mousesMice is more common even for the computing device.
  • Midrift (midriff)Midrift is a misspelling.
  • Milieua particular social environment.
  • Minima vs. minimumsminima in science and mathematics; minimums in general usage.
  • Minks vs. minx
  • Minuscule vs. minisculeThe original has the u. The form with the i is a rapidly conventionalizing misspelling.
  • Minutia, minutiaeMinutia is traditionally singular, and minutiae is its plural.
  • Mirandizeto inform an arrested suspect of his or her right to silence and legal counsel.
  • Mischievous vs. mischieviousMischievous is the standard spelling.
  • Misinformed vs. uninformedMisinformed = based on bad information. Uninformed = based on inadequate information.
  • Misnomer1. a name that gives a misleading impression; 2. a mistake in naming something.
  • Modeling vs. modellingmodeled and modeling in the U.S.; modelled and modelling everywhere else.
  • ModernIt may sometimes bear unwanted 20th-century-related connotations.
  • Modus operandi (m.o, MO)a routine way of doing something.
  • Mold vs. mouldWhatever the sense, the word is spelled mold in the U.S. and mould everywhere else.
  • Mollusc vs. molluskmollusk in North America; mollusc outside North America.
  • Mollycoddleto be overprotective or overindulgent toward.
  • Molt vs. moultmolt in the U.S.; moult everywhere else.
  • Momentarily1. briefly; 2. in a moment.
  • Money-grabbing vs. money-grubbingBoth describe people who greedily seek money at every opportunity.
  • Monied vs. Moneyed
  • Moose vs. mooses
  • Moot vs. muteMoot: 1. subject to debate; 2. of no importance or merely hypothetical. Mute: silent.
  • Moratorium
  • Morays vs. moresMorays: eels. Mores: shared habits and values.
  • MoresoThe two-word form is still safer.
  • Mothballto make inactive or put in storage.
  • Mother lodean abundant source of something.
  • Moustache vs. mustache (vs. mustachio)mustache in the U.S.; moustache everywhere else. A mustachio is an especially luxuriant mustache.
  • Movable vs. moveableMovable is preferred everywhere, but moveable is a common variant.
  • Mowed vs. mownMowed is usually the past tense, and mown is usually the past-participial adjective.
  • MuchlyIt can always give way to much, which works as an adverb.
  • Mucous vs. mucusMucus is a noun. Mucous is an adjective.
  • Multitaskto perform multiple tasks as one.
  • Murderers' rowan exceptionally intimidating group of people or things. It originally described a formidable 1920s New York Yankees lineup.
  • Must of (must've)It's usually a misspelling of must've.
  • MuumuuIt prevails over all alternative spellings by a large margin.
  • MyriadUsing it as an adjective is usually more concise than using it as a noun.

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