Mixed-up Meanings

  1. “Hallowmas” vs. “All Saints’ Day”: What’s The Day After Halloween Actually Called?

    Halloween is actually just the beginning of a string of otherworldly holidays. The tricks, treats, and customs of Halloween, now mostly secular, are based in part on ancient Celtic and Christian festivals. But did you know that the Halloween customs extend past October 31? In fact, the day after Halloween is a celebrated day in many parts of the world. What is All Saints’ Day? November …

  2. text: confident vs. confidant(e)

    “Confident” vs. “Confidant”: What’s The Difference?

    Before getting on stage to audition for the school play, Monica needed to believe in herself and reflect on her talent. But as she peeked out into the auditorium, where the judges were sitting, her self-esteem started to waver. At that point, was Monica feeling less confident than she was while singing in the shower? Or was she struggling to remain confidant? Or, what about confidante? …

  3. “Democracy” vs. “Republic”: Is There A Difference?

    You probably hear countries like the United States or France referred to as democracies. At the same time, you probably also hear both of these countries called republics. Is that possible? Are democracies and republics the same thing or different? We don’t blame you for confusing these two terms. With a major and heated US election underway, it’s the perfect time for some Government 101. …

  4. “Empathy” vs. “Sympathy”: Which Word To Use And When

    How are empathy and sympathy the same? The terms empathy and sympathy are often confused, and with good reason. Both of the words deal with the relationship a person has to the feelings and experiences of another person. So, let’s explore the differences between these terms and how they are most commonly used. Both sympathy and empathy have roots in the Greek term páthos meaning “suffering, feeling.” What …

  5. text on blue background: "panic attack vs. anxiety attack"

    “Panic Attack” vs. “Anxiety Attack”: Which One Have You Had?

    Ever been worried, apprehensive, or even panicky at times? Yes? We thought so. We all have. Suddenly, you feel a knot in your throat, your heart starts pounding, you’re short of breath, shaky, drenched in sweat, and a bit dizzy. Brace yourself. Your body’s fight-or-flight response is switched on and is quickly taking over. You are in survival mode. We hope there are no imminent dangers or …

  6. text that says reeking vs. wreaking, on a light blue background

    “Reeking” vs. “Wreaking”: What’s The Difference?

    Does Godzilla wreak havoc or reek havoc? Reeking is a word that usually describes something with a bad smell. Wreaking refers to something that causes destruction or damage. So really, when it comes to Godzilla … it depends. Let’s examine the two homophones and learn why each refers to something different. What does reek mean? As a verb, reek means a few things. Most often, …

  7. “Theory” vs. “Hypothesis”: What Is The Difference?

    Chances are you’ve heard of the TV show The Big Bang Theory. Lots of people love this lighthearted sitcom for its quirky characters and their relationships, but others haven’t even given the series a chance for one reason: they don’t like science and assume the show is boring. However, it only takes a few seconds with Sheldon and Penny to disprove this assumption and realize …

  8. text on dark green background: magma vs. lava

    “Magma” vs. “Lava”: Which Is Scarier?

    Raise your hand if you’ve ever made an exploding volcano. For a lot of us, that volcano project was a key milestone of our science fair years. (And if you didn’t build it, chances are, one of your classmates definitely did.) As you might recall, the project requires a few key ingredients, including dish soap, white vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring. All of these are assembled …

  9. “Marketing” vs. “Advertising”: What’s The Difference?

    We’re pretty sure we don’t have to point it out: advertising is everywhere. Your social media, internet, and email inbox are full of ads—and that’s because you are a consumer and therefore a target for marketing campaigns for everything from soft drinks to cars. Sometimes it’s hard to decipher what’s an ad and what’s not. From the influx of emails from retailers to the influencers …

  10. “Intrusive” vs. “Obtrusive”: What’s The Difference?

    Imagine this: one day, you look out your window and notice that the neighbors have installed a very large shed in their yard. If this shed blocks a view you previously enjoyed, would you describe it as intrusive or obtrusive? It’s natural to wonder. Intrusive and obtrusive both refer to something or someone who invades or is thrust into a situation in an unwelcome way. And …