Titter vs titer

  • Titter and titer 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 confused in usage. Two words or more than two 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, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. 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 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 for learning commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study. 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 titter and titer, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.


    Titter means a giggle, snicker, or suppressed laugh. A titter often is a result of nervousness or laughing at something one should not be laughing at. Titter is used as a noun and an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are titters, tittered, tittering. The word titter is derived from an imitation of the sound of tittering and came into use in the 1600s.


    Titer means the concentration of a substance in a solution or the concentration of antibodies or another substance in the blood. Titer is a noun that is derived from the French word, titrer, which means the purity of silver or gold in an item such as a coin.


    “Whatever, it is certain that she was one of a kind, and her curious behavior caused excited titters of whispered gossip in the upper strata of 18th century social circles on two continents.” (Daily Press)

    In recent years, the mere mention of Deutsche Bank’s wholesale business has been enough to elicit a titter from rival bosses. (Reuters)

    Although IgG antibody levels were highly correlated with neutralizing antibody titers (Spearman’s rank correlation between 0.68 and 0.75), the regression relationship between the IgG and neutralizing antibody levels depended on the time since receipt of the second vaccine dose. (New England Journal of Medicine)

    People older than 80 years were found to have lower SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody titers and neutralizing titers compared with people younger than 60 years after the first and second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to study results published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. (Infectious Disease Advisor)

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