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Sceptic vs septic

  • Sceptic and septic are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English. Two words or more than two words, even if they are common words, may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, homographs, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Sometimes, confusables are word constructions that are not proper English words. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words that have a different meaning from one another and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure to learn new words and commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study to understand the difference in spelling and meaning. To learn new words in the English language, one must not only study a spelling words list, one must know the meaning of words in one’s vocabulary word list. It is also helpful to memorize how to correctly pronounce words and to know the etymology of new words or where they are derived from. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables sceptic and septic, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

     

    A sceptic is someone who questions accepted beliefs or mistrusts certain ideas, dogma, or people. Related words are scepticism and sceptical. Sceptic is the British spelling of the word; the American spelling is skeptic. The word sceptic is derived from the Greek word, skeptikos, which means inquiring. Skepticism was a philosophy in Ancient Greece led by the founder, Pyrrho; its main tenet was that it is impossible to find true knowledge.

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    Septic is an adjective that describes a state of infection, or sepsis. Septic may refer to a wound or an entire human or animal. Septic is also an American term for a sewer drainage system. The word septic is derived from the Greek word, septikos, which means putrified.

    Examples

    Irish-American Cardinal Raymond Burke (73), a Covid-19 vaccine sceptic, has been placed on a ventilator after testing positive for the virus last week. (Irish Times)

    It’s a spectacle that began many centuries ago in Greece, and its modern equivalent has once again captivated tens of millions – even some of those who might initially have been sceptical. (Sydney Morning Herald)

    One hundred and forty-three cases of septic peritonitis, 26 cases of septic soft tissue infection, 20 cases of pyometra, and 15 cases of pyothorax were evaluated. (Physician’s Weekly)

    In patients with septic shock, treatment with intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine does not lead to more rapid resolution compared with intravenous hydrocortisone alone, according to the results of a multicenter, open-label, randomized clinical trial (VITAMINS; ClinicalTrial.gov Identifier:NCT03333278) published in JAMA. (Pulmonology Advisor)


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