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Waste or waist?

26 Oct

Another troublesome pair that I’ve seen a few times recently: another of these homonyms, or words that sound the same, which I suppose is where the problem arises. Because we all know the difference, don’t we?

A waste occurs when you have something left over that has to be thrown away, or you don’t use something and it goes off, or you spend too much – it’s all about using something carelessly or extravagantly, or not accounting for what you need. So you can waste a bag of apples if you don’t eat them in time and they go rotten and have to be thrown away, or you waste money if you pay for a gym membership and don’t ever go to the gym.

A waist is the middle of something, where it’s nipped in, particularly in the human body, where it’s the big between the ribs and the hips, but also in other creatures, and inanimate objects, like a violin.

“I wasted a lot of satin making her wedding dress, because I didn’t measure the size of her waist so I had to trim lots of pieces off the original pattern.”

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.

 
 

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