Shutter vs. shudder

A shutter is a panel attached to a window that can be closed for privacy. Also, it is the part of a camera that opens to expose light to the film. A person can shutter their windows by closing the shutters. To shudder is to shake or quake, usually as a result of fear or disgust. These words … [Read more...]

Draconian

Draconian describes something as very strict or harsh. It comes from the Athenian lawmaker Draco, whose laws were extreme. For example, theft carried the death penalty. Dragonian, on the other hand, refers to dragons. Below is the ngram for draconian, which has been on a steady rise for the … [Read more...]

Chalk up vs. chock

Chalk up is an idiom meaning to give credit to something or to attain something. It comes from the literal act in the 16th century of writing in chalk a debt that was owed to a store. A chock is a wooden block used beneath wheels to prevent movement. Chock-full means completely full. It is … [Read more...]

Minks vs. minx

A mink is a weasel-like carnivore native to North America, known for its lustrous fur. The plural form is minks. A minx is a promiscuous, impudent, or flirtatious young woman who causes trouble. The term carries a sexist connotation.  Examples The American mink was first introduced to … [Read more...]

Battle royal

A battle involving many fighters can be called a battle royal. It is not spelled battle royale unless you are specifically referencing a book, game, or movie by that name. The plural form can be either battle royals or battles royal. History Battles royal were common in England in the 17th and … [Read more...]

Udder vs. utter

An udder is a mammary organ that secretes milk, characteristic of cows and other mammals. Utter is an adjective describing something as complete or absolute.  Utter is also a verb meaning to speak or to put forged money into circulation.   Examples A team of volunteers from Gosford … [Read more...]

Smokey vs. smoky

Smokey is a proper noun and first name, whereas smoky is an adjective referring to an object being filled with or smelling of smoke. Until recently smokey was an accepted spelling of smoky in the Oxford English Dictionary. However, it is now thought of as … [Read more...]

Absorption vs. adsorption

Absorption is the process by which things are absorbed. Adsorption, on the other hand, describes the act of gas or liquid molecules adhering to a surface. Both words are commonly misspelled as absorbtion and adsorbtion. This spelling error is usually corrected automatically by a computer's … [Read more...]

Tenant vs. tenet

A tenet is a principle held as being true, especially by an organization or a group of people. A tenant is (1) someone who pays rent to occupy property; (2) a dweller in a place; and, (3) in law, one who holds or possesses lands, tenements, or property by any kind of title. Examples Tenet He … [Read more...]

Affective vs. effective

Affective is an adjective meaning influenced by emotions or arousing emotions. It is roughly synonymous with emotional. It's used mainly in psychology, where affective disorders are conditions characterized by emotional problems or mood disturbances, though it does appear occasionally outside … [Read more...]

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