Aglet or ferrule?

06 Oct

DictionariesThis is a cheeky one. Of course you all know the difference between these two lovely words. But I like them, and it’s my blog, and you never know who might look things up (even “mandrel or mandrill” is quite popular).

An aglet is the little tube that you find on the end of your shoelaces, usually made of plastic but sometimes of metal. Sweetly, it apparently comes from the French for “little needle”, even though it doesn’t really look like or act like a needle in itself, but is used to help you thread the lace through the holes.

A ferrule is the little plastic or rubber cap that sits on the end of a walking stick or umbrella and prevents it from getting damaged.

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


Posted by on October 6, 2015 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


Tags: , , ,

2 responses to “Aglet or ferrule?

  1. Antonio Tejada

    October 28, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I don’t think this one is correct. Ferrules are rings that hold — for example, the metal band on a pencil that attaches the eraser is a ferrule. (Same for the bristles on a brush.) I think it’s far more accurate to say that an aglet is a very specific type of ferrule. The ferrule on an umbrella performs this holding function as well.


    • Liz Dexter

      October 30, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Thank you for your addition to the piece, yes, I’d agree with you on that.



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