Word Confusion: Faze versus Phase

Posted November 7, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 27 August 2017

This one was one of my screw-ups! Arghh, I hate when that happens. With all my reading, I had never come across this word until a Clive Cussler novel threw it in my path. It’s certainly made me more cautious in my belief that I know all!

It kind of reminds me of my difficulty in remembering that plasma cutting [in welding] is not the same thing as using a phaser! I don’t know why this is such an issue for me…

Turns out that faze is strictly a verb which upsets someone or something while phase is both noun and verb that takes gradual steps.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Faze Phase
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Cartoon image of a soldier running in fear

“Coward” courtesy of OpenClipArt-Vectors under the CC0 Creative Commons license, via Pixabay.

I suspect this soldier is fazed out.


Animated GIF showing moon phase

“Lunar Libration with Phase 2” by Tomruen, 16 September 2005 when it was published on Wikimedia Commons (the original upload was 7 September 2005 to English Wikipedia). It is in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, transitive

Third person present verb: fazes
Past tense or past participle: fazed
Gerund or present participle: fazing

Noun; Verb, transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: phases
Past tense or past participle: phased
Gerund or present participle: phasing

Often be fazed


Usually with negative

[Informal] Disturb or disconcert someone

Noun:
A distinct period or stage in a process of change or forming part of something’s development

  • A stage in a person’s psychological development, especially a period of temporary unhappiness or difficulty during adolescence or a particular stage during childhood
  • Each of the aspects of the moon or a planet, according to the amount of its illumination, especially the new moon, the first quarter, the full moon, and the last quarter
  • [Riding] Each of the separate events in an eventing competition

[Zoology] A genetic or seasonal variety of an animal’s coloration

  • A stage in the life cycle or annual cycle of an animal

[Chemistry] A distinct and homogeneous form of matter, i.e., a particular solid, liquid, or gas separated by its surface from other forms

[Physics] The relationship in time between the successive states or cycles of an oscillating or repeating system (such as an alternating electric current or a light or sound wave) and either a fixed reference point or the states or cycles of another system with which it may or may not be in synchrony

Verb, transitive:
Carry out something in gradual stages

  • [Phase something in/out] Introduce into or withdraw from use in gradual stages

[Physics] Adjust the phase of something, especially so as to synchronize it with something else

Examples:
She was not fazed by his show of anger.

Nothing fazed that girl.

Noun:
The final phases of the war.

Phase two of the development is in progress.

You are not obsessed, but you are going through a phase.

Verb transitive:
The work is being phased over a number of years.

We’ll perform a phased withdrawal of troops.

Our armed forces policy was to be phased in over 10 years.

Derivatives:
Adjective: phaseal, phaseless, phasic, unphased
Noun: phaser, phaseout, subphase
Verb, transitive: rephase, rephased, rephasing
History of the Word:
A mid-19th century variant of dialect, feeze, meaning to drive or frighten off

From the Old English fēsian.

Early 19th century, denoting each aspect of the moon from the French phase, based on Greek phasis meaning appearance, from the base of phainein meaning to show.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Faze and Phase” is from a post by Richard Nordquist and courtesy of About.com.


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