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...]

Chafe vs. chaff

To chafe is to irritate by rubbing. For example, a poorly made shoe might chafe your ankle. The word is often metaphorical; for instance, you might be chafed by a bothersome coworker who talks too much. Also, chafe sometimes becomes intransitive, taking the preposition at (or sometimes under), so … [Read more...]

Depository vs. repository

In its oldest English sense, dating from the 15th century,1 a repository is a place where things are stored, usually for safe keeping. Depository, which entered English a couple of centuries later,2 bears the same meaning (though, considered etymologically, a depository is a place where things are … [Read more...]

Discomfit vs. discomfort

To discomfit is (1) to throw into confusion, perplex, or embarrass; or (2) to thwart or defeat, especially in military conflict. The second sense is the original---and a handful of people insist that it is still the only correct use---but the first is more common today and is rarely questioned. The … [Read more...]

Grateful vs. gratified

Grateful means thankful. Gratified means satisfied or pleased---or, often, pleased to receive something one has worked for or long desired. Gratification doesn't necessarily involve gratitude; for instance, one might be gratified to see positive effects of one's hard work, or a victim of crime might … [Read more...]

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