Taught vs. Tot

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Taught and tot are two commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words taught and tot, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Taught is the past tense of teach, which means to give instruction or impart knowledge, to explain how to accomplish something. Related words are teaches and teaching. Taught is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Taught comes from the Old English tahte, past tense of the Old English word taecan.

Tot, in American English, means a small child or toddler. Tot, in British English, means a small, strong alcoholic drink. The word tot came into use in the 1700s in Scotland and may be derived from the Old Norse word tottr, which means dwarf.


“I wish we taught more in our schools about the Islamic faith,” Biden, a Catholic, said during his video remarks played at the “Million Muslim Votes” summit organized by the Muslim American political action committee Emgage Action. (The Christian Post)

Whatever you call it, it’s been a few months since the COVID-19 pandemic taught us what staying home for an extended period actually looks and feels like. (The Daily Sabah)

Uncle of slain NYC tot describes frantic drive to hospital: ‘Blood everywhere’ (The New York Post)

Parent re-watches baby monitor and is spooked when ‘anomaly’ wakes tot (The Daily Star)

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