Wrong Word Wednesday #54

Every week I demonstrate an example of poor English where a different word is used from the actual meaning. Usually this creates a grammatically incorrect sentence, sometimes it sounds amusing. Unfortunately, the mistake is so pervasive that we all do it and such errors are usually made by those who should know better – journalists working for national or global media outlets such as newspapers and television.

Defuse / Diffuse

I came across this in a mindfulness course I did recently and had to stop and ask myself which one was correct. As it is not something you will write every day. the problem is in pronunciation; people do not know which one to use.  One of these precedes “…the situation” but which one? Whenever I hear somebody saying it, they pronounce it like the second word but it is actually the first you need.

Defuse – To remove the tension, return something to a calm state. This works well as an analogy for preventing an argument or a fight

Diffuse – This means to spread something, or to dilute it.

It is easy to remember if you think of a bomb. A bomb has a fuse, the de- prefix means to remove something; so when you stop an argument from happening, you are de-fusing it.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Wrong Word Wednesday #54

Have something to say? Go on, you know you want to:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s