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Digest vs digest

  • Digest and digest are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. These word pairs are often misused words. Heteronyms exist because of our ever-changing English language, and these words with the same spelling and different pronunciation and meaning are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that look the same but are not pronounced the same, and how to use them in sentences, because they are easily confused. The way the pronunciations and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling and misuse by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word tear meaning a liquid drop that falls from an eye is derived from the Old English word tear, meaning a drop or nectar; tear meaning to pull apart comes from the Old English word tearan, which means to lacerate. Heteronyms are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced differently but are spelled the same and come from a different etymology. They are often used in puns and riddles. When reading, it is sometimes difficult to know which word is being used in a sentence and how to pronounce the word phonetically. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check for these commonly confused words but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a heteronym in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Do not confuse heteronyms with homophones, which are two or more words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings like sow and sew; do not confuse them with homonyms, which are words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings like spring as in spring forth and spring as in the season of the year. Heteronyms are a type of homograph, which is a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning. We will examine the definitions of the words digest and digest, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences.


     

    A digest (DIE jest) is a summary of information or a book or magazine that compiles and condenses information. For instance, the American publication Reader’s Digest is a magazine that abridges nonfiction articles and compiles them in nearly monthly magazines. The word digest is derived from the Latin word digestus.

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    Digest (die JEST) is a verb that means to break down food in the body in order to extract nutrition. Digest is also used figuratively to mean to consume and mentally process knowledge. A third meaning of digest is to systematize and organize something. The word digest is derived from digesten. Related words are digests, digested, digesting, digestion.

    Examples

    Coronavirus digest: Danish abattoir closed over COVID-19 cluster (Deutsche Welle)

    Here is your latest digest of university news and tips. (UTSA Today)

    Karen Schulte is a retired social worker whose collection of poetry, Where Desire Settles, won first place in the Writer’s Digest 2017 Annual Contest and her poem “Displaced” won honorable mention in the Digest’s 2019 poetry contest. (The Shelter Island Reporter)

    In the stomach and small intestine, things like bile, acid, and enzymes help digest, or break down your food so your body can absorb the parts it needs. (Moscow-Pullman Daily News)

    According to the research firm, it took 20 days between a peak in COVID-19 cases in late April and a rally in value stocks to occur, as investors needed time to digest the news and see if the worst was really over before they committed their money to beaten-down stocks that rely on an opened-up economy. (The Business Insider)


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