Thursday, March 05, 2009


OK, I know I am being picky, but this morning I read yet another blog offering me a "peak" inside someone's beautiful home. (I'm totally hooked on design blogs) I keep noticing that many, many people do not seem to know the difference between the words, peak, peek and pique. I keep reading that someone's curiosity was "peaked" or "peeked".

And so I offer, as a public service, the following:

  1. A tapering, projecting point; a pointed extremity: the peak of a cap; the peak of a roof.
  2. (Abbr. Pk.)
    a. The pointed summit of a mountain.
    b. The mountain itself.

  3. a. The point of a beard.
    b. A widow's peak.
  4. The point of greatest development, value, or intensity: a novel written at the peak of the writer's career. See synonyms at summit.
  5. Physics. The highest value attained by a varying quantity: a peak in current.
  6. Nautical.
    a. The narrow portion of a ship's hull at the bow or stern.
    b. The upper after corner of a fore-and-aft sail.
    c. The outermost end of a gaff.

intr.v., peeked, peek·ing, peeks.
  1. To glance quickly.
  2. To look or peer furtively, as from a place of concealment.
  3. To be only partially visible, as if peering or emerging from hiding: Tiny crocuses peeked through the snow.


  1. A brief or furtive look.

A state of vexation caused by a perceived slight or indignity; a feeling of wounded pride.

tr.v., piqued, piqu·ing, piques.

  1. To cause to feel resentment or indignation.
  2. To provoke; arouse: The portrait piqued her curiosity.
  3. To pride (oneself): He piqued himself on his stylish attire.

Any questions? Next week's lesson will cover Piqué, something altogether different!


  1. Would you do one on their, there and they're? That one is a major hot button with me.

  2. Thank you. I must admit to often making the peak peek mistake when I am typing, but I hope I catch it before I publish.

  3. heehee, thanks, I'm the same way! I've finally reached the point where I can force myself to ignore these little switches (weary for wary is the most recent) but they still irk me.

  4. Oh if everyone could have just had the nuns that taught me spelling in grade school!!!!!

  5. Anonymous2:48 PM

    Oh I know exactly what you mean Terry! Often people write about a "sneak peek". I suspect there is something pleasing about the repetition of two "eak" endings that contributes to this common mis-use but it always make me inwardly go "eek"!

  6. A peek at piqué piques my interest! My knitting would certainly peak if I could knit a piqué edging!

    (My personal pet peeve is misuse of quotes apostrophes.)

  7. I meant quotes AND apostrophes.

  8. And what about "wrecked havoc" ? That one really gets me - it should be wreaked havoc. And then there is "heart rendering" - oh boy - that one is bad - one's heart isn't rendered - that is what you do to lard - It is "heart rending" - even Katie Couric said heart rendering - shame shame.

    Thanks for the lesson - I hope those who need it - read it.

  9. What a fine public service you have rendered! Maybe some day we'll have the privilege to read the wet noodle treatment of less and fewer!

  10. I would comment, but I'm feeling a bit peaked.

    (Boy, I hope I got the right one - giggle)

  11. Foundering & floundering
    prostate & prostrate
    Or the all-time favorite irigardless.

  12. I had to look this up but words that sound the same but are spelled differently are called homophones. The word "homonym" has also been sliding quite casually towards the same meaning. Takes me back to first grade.

    Though not the same, my personal favorite is when someone doesn't want to "loose" something that they cherish.

  13. As an afterthought, I also like it when someone is "taken for granite."

  14. And why do people think that any word ending with "s" needs an apostrophe?? I think the most offensive example I ever saw was a wooden apple with "Miss Jone's Room" written on it. Talk about fingernails on a chalkboard!

  15. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Thank you! For future articles, may I suggest:

    1. Spelling lessons...everyone online seems to think that it's "definately" and "dilemna"
    2. The horrors of "baited breath" (it's "bated", people)
    3. My personal favorites: "Chow" instead of "Ciao", and "Wallah!" (with numerous variations) instead of "Voila!"

    I feel so much better now.

  16. Anonymous10:54 AM

    I think it's about Time someone commented on the speed of its passing.
    The possessive form of "it" is "its" and the contraction of "it is" is "it's."

    IT bugs me a lot.

  17. Oh yes, all of these, plus "are house"! A friend of my husband's was a real exponent of this, both in speech and in writing. His favourite was to tell me that he was illegible for something. I once got so annoyed with him that I told his problem was that he was illegiterate! He couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, but he knew it wasn't right!

  18. Do you ever put "boaders" on your quilts? It seems a lot of people do.

  19. Then there's always “pour” vs. “pore”... you shouldn’t pour over a book unless it‘s on fire!

  20. How do people even think there is such a word as 'gotten'? It makes me fume and my other pet peeve is 'should of', 'would of' instead of 'would have 'should have' and suchlike.

  21. With her curiosity piqued, she moved closer to get a better peek at the construction of the wallhanging, where she realized the focal point peaked at the base of the tree trunk where all the quilting lines terminated. "This quilt makes me wonder what little rodent lives in that tree, " thoroughly expecting to see two little eyes peek out at her. She shook her head, nudging back her cap to expose her widow's peak, and mused, "So THAT'S what's wrong with my quilt--all my quilt lines echo the sail, ending at the peak, which leads your eye right off the top of the wall hanging!" I wonder what I can do to bring eyes back down to my focal point, to pique the viewer's interest in my sailor??

    I have no boarders on my quilts, but I DID have one in my second bedroom for a couple of months, and a hoarder might still live in my house. I don't even throw out scraps after finishing a pieced border.

    Let's face it. Our language is easy to get confuscated : D My favorite books share collections of kids saying the darnedest things where they have obviously misunderstood a homonym, or another common word. I haven't noticed any adult books of this type, but it sounds like you could create a book of a collection of how we mix things up and make a mint. The mixtures would need to appear funny though, not like you were peeved with all of us who make mistakes.

    I Do own a book called Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. The whole thing explains the ins and outs of using correct words and punctuation marks. Consider the title being written as Eats Shoots and Leaves. Totally different meaning, right? But I don't find this book an enjoyable read--just a resource.

    Come on!! Someone put together the next best seller. I'll be your first customer.

    Note: I've had to return to confuscated three time because the computer tried to change this wonderful made up word from Winnie the Pooh to confiscated. As it just did once more. So this part is destined to NOT be understood my many. I find the auto fix feature to be maddening for changing text to what it THINKS I'm trying to say. It still mixes up homonyms and contractions.