Sunday, 13 November 2016

Piqued, peaked and peeked.

I understand that I'm tilting at windmills here. But.

I really am fed up with the misuse of the phrase "piqued my imagination". It seems to me that hardly anyone gets this right. It's either "peaked" (18,100 hits on Google) or "peeked" (4,150 hits). I'm glad to report that "piqued my imagination" got 47,800 hits, so all is not yet lost.

At least "peaked" means "reached the highest point", and there's some excuse for getting it wrong. But "peeked" means "had a quick look at".

I have similar beefs with "loathe" and "loath", which mean *completely* different things. Also "diffuse" and "defuse" which also have very different meanings but are often confused. And "horde" and "hoard".

"Decimate" has completely lost its real meaning, and the words "disinterested" and "uninterested" appear to have merged.

Am I the only one who cares? Yes, I know that English words change their meaning, and "gay" doesn't mean what it meant 50 years ago. But I don't think that this is a mutation of meaning, I think it's just inadequate education and lack of care. If you're going to make the effort to use latin-derived and/or uncommon words, you should also make the effort to get them right. "Journalists" are the worst; if your profession is the use of words, you have an obligation to use them correctly. But in the era of blogging and online media, everyone seems to think they're a journalist.


I've pretty much given up on the difference between "due to" and "owing to", which it would seem that very few people can distinguish.


  1. Of coarse that's a mute point.
    Local paper is as bad as any with headline about breaks failing.
    Often the excuse is predictive text, but it must be combined with the auto post this before I read it function?
    These make me cringe too. Perhaps we are loosing it.

  2. I once got 'trolled' for mixing up 'hordes' and 'hoards' and also once for 'slither' and 'sliver'. It's not that I don't know the difference, it's that I type very fast without necessarily thinking about spelling. Journalists shouldn't be making the mistakes especially as they have assistants and sub-editors. For a blogger, it's easy to not notice your own mistakes.

  3. I re-read my blog post before I hit "publish".

    But these aren't simple spelling mistakes; they're a confusion in the mind about the meanings of words.

  4. it could be a fragment of your imagination; After all it is a doggy dog world.