RSS

irrupt or erupt?

16 Aug
irrupt or erupt?

 

This one was suggested by my husband, a keen birdwatcher (see below for why that’s relevant) and adder of troublesome pairs to my list.

Erupt is perhaps the better-known of the two. To erupt is to forcefully throw out rocks, lava, gas and ash, if you’re a volcano. The next meaning is to break out suddenly, usually used of something like a fight, and similarly, you can erupt into laughter, meaning it happens suddenly and forcefully. Finally, a spot or rash erupts when it appears suddenly on the skin, and a tooth erupts through a gum when it grows in your mouth and becomes visible.

To irrupt, also a verb, means to burst into somewhere, to enter suddenly or even forcibly. The kind of thing people do when they break down a door. Interestingly, I’ve seen people being described as “erupting” in this sense, but let’s use irrupt here if we can, to preserve those two senses, yes? The second (and husband-relevant) meaning is to migrate into an area in large – that’s abnormally large – numbers, and it’s especially used of birds. So when an awful lot of waxwings descended on some trees with berries in a Birmingham car park, that was them irrupting. Or an irruption.

You can find more troublesome pairs here, and here’s the index to them all!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on August 16, 2017 in Errors, Language use

 

Tags:

7 responses to “irrupt or erupt?

  1. Rebecca Foster

    August 16, 2017 at 11:01 am

    I always presumed “irrupt” was just an archaic spelling! My husband is a birdwatcher too, so I liked your example. We’ve gone looking for waxwing invasions many a time (and occasionally found them).

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Liz Dexter

      August 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

      It’s amazing what you find out when you stop to look these things up, isn’t it! I’ve not seen a waxwing, but my husband saw a good one when I’d chosen to go for a long run rather than search them out with him!

      Like

       
  2. Don Massenzio

    August 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Here is a helpful tip from the Libro Editing blog on the uses of irrup and erupt.

    Like

     
  3. patriciaruthsusan

    August 17, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Interesting post. Thanks for the information. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

     
  4. suzannebowditch

    August 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Reblogged this on suzannebowditch and commented:
    Really helpful grammar tips here for writers

    Like

     

I love hearing from my readers - do please leave a comment!

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

 
%d bloggers like this: