Wednesday 18 April 2018

Defuse and diffuse

It seems to me as if journalists cannot tell the difference between these two words. They aren't even homonyms!

Defuse. That's what you do with a bomb. More metaphorically, that's what you do with a dangerous situation - you calm it down and remove the detonator and explosive.

Diffuse. When you add a drop of ink to a glass of water, the ink diffuses through the water, until eventually it's all mixed in.

Do, you do not "diffuse" a dangerous situation. You defuse it.

Please get these straight.

Thank you.


  1. That's a mute point - as many of them say too.

  2. This isn't one of my usual problem words, but it's one to watch for. Mute/Moot I've never seen in the wild, but again I'll look out for it. It's important to have standards :)