Mustard vs mustered

Mustard and mustered are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same, and homophones are commonly misused words. Said aloud, the difference is less important, because the words are pronounced the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones and understand the correct spelling; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the word pairs to, too and two, bridle and bridal, creek and creak, hoard and horde, toed and towed, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other and are easily confused and are commonly misused. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling 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 threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. 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. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Homophones are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words mustard and mustered, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Mustard is a yellow condiment that is made from mustard seeds, vinegar, and spices. Mustard is also the plant that produces the seeds that are turned into the condiment, mustard. Mustard comes in many flavors and may be bright yellow to brown, depending on the spices used. Some of the more popular types of mustard are yellow, Grey Poupon, Dijon, spicy brown, honey, whole grain, beer, and hot. Mustard is served on sausages and hot dogs, pretzels, salads, and eggs, and it is used in marinades. A new trend is to serve mustard with watermelon. The word mustard is derived from the Old French word, mostarde, which is the name of the plant that produces the mustard seeds.

Mustered is the past tense of muster, which means to assemble a group of men for a variety of reasons, including inspection. Muster also means to gather or collect something. The word muster is derived from the Old French word mostrer, which means to show or reveal.


In partnership with New England-based Piantedosi Baking Company, French’s is rolling out limited edition mustard buns, with the Classic Yellow Mustard baked right in. (USA Today)

Others welcomed the new machines, even if the globs they delivered at the wave of a hand sometimes slathered hot dogs with ruinous puddles rather than delicate drizzles of mustard. (Seattle Times)

They were mustered in at Camp Fuller in Rockford on Sept. 5, 1862. (Daily Herald)

The court mustered a bare 5-4 majority last month, to allow the eviction ban to continue through the end of July. (Mercury News)

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