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 :)