Word Confusion: Coy versus Koi

Posted February 11, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

The sentence which inspired this word confusion, coy versus koi, was “the gleaming scales of gold and silver coy sparkled as they swam beneath the surface”. I had to read it several times before, duh, I realized the author meant koi. Fish. Not that someone was being flirtatious or shy or that the author forgot to include a noun.

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. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Coy Koi
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Still from the American film Love (1919 film) with Frank Hayes and Roscoe Arbuckle, on page 20 of the June 1919 Film Fun. The still caption states: that Fatty returns in the make-up of a hired girl. Father proves flirtatious.

Image by Paramount Pictures is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Both parties appear coy.


A school of koi thrashing

Image is Diether’s own work [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I do love watching koi.

Part of Grammar:
Abbreviation; Adjective Noun
Plural: koi
Abbreviation:
[Military] Company

Adjective:
[Especially with reference to a woman] Making a pretense of shyness or modesty that is intended to be alluring

  • Reluctant to give details, especially about something regarded as sensitive
  • [Dated] Quiet and reserved
    • Shy
A common carp of a large ornamental variety, originally bred in Japan
Examples:
Abbreviation:
Coy

Adjective:
She treated him to a coy smile of invitation.

He is coy about his age.

koi carp

In colder climates, koi hibernate in the winter.

Koi come in a variety of colors and sizes.

Derivatives:
Comparative Adjective: coyer, coyest
Adverb: coyly
History of the Word:
Middle English from the Old French coi or quei, from the Latin quietus. The original sense was quiet or still (especially in behavior). A later meaning was modestly retiring, and hence (of a woman), meaning affecting to be unresponsive to advances. Early 18th century from the Japanese, carp.

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?


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