Word Confusion: Wae vs Way vs Weigh

Posted July 21, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

The word confusion is primarily between way and weigh with too many writers mixing these words up. Then I ran across wae, and to my sorrow, I felt the need to include this word for those who write historical fiction…*grin*…oops, I mean…*sob*.

It’s fairly easy to get straight with wae, as the spelling is obviously an old style.

Way has a number of possibilities for you to remember, primarily one of a path to follow with other meanings including being particular or specific and the nautical references.

Weigh is primarily a heaviness whether it’s physical, emotional, or a strong effect.

One major confusion between the first two words is when combined with under. This is a separate post which you may want to explore, “Under Way v Underway v Under Weigh“, later.

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.

Wae Way Weigh
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: wae; YourDictionary.com: wae

Painting of a little girl crying

Image courtesy of Gebhard Fugel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ah, the wae of this young child.


A breaststroke swimmer, in a hotel swimming pool at Brixham, Devon, England.

Image by Adrian Pingstone at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Doing the breaststroke is one way to move through water.


An old red balance scale

Image by L. Miguel Bugallo Sánchez [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

An old balance scale to weigh most anything.

Part of Grammar:
Initialism; Noun Adverb; Noun Verb, intransitive & transitive

Third person present verb: weighs
Past tense or past participle: weighed
Gerund or present participle: weighing

Initialism:
[Telecommunications] Wireless Application Environment

[Computing] Web Application Extension

[U.S.; government] While actually employed

And lots, lots more…

Noun:
[Scotland and North England] Expresses sorrow

  • Woe
Adverb:
[Informal] At or to a considerable distance or extent

  • [Emphasis] Far
  • [As submodifier; chiefly North American] Much
  • [As submodifier; U.S.] Extremely
  • [Used for emphasis; shortening of away] Really

Noun:
A method, style, or manner of doing something

  • A person’s characteristic or habitual manner of behavior or expression
  • [Ways] The customary modes of behavior or practices of a group
  • [In singular] The typical manner in which something happens or in which someone or something behaves

A road, track, path, or street for traveling along

  • [Usually in singular] A of travel or route taken in order to reach a place
  • A means of entry or exit from somewhere, such as a door or gate
  • [In singular; also North American informal, ways] A distance traveled or to be traveled
    • The distance from one place to another
  • [In singular] A period between one point in time and another
  • [In singular] Travel or motion along a particular route; the route along which someone or something would travel if unobstructed
  • [In singular] A specified direction
  • [Often ways] Parts into which something divides or is divided
  • [One’s way] Used with a verb and adverbial phrase to intensify the force of an action or to denote movement or progress
  • Forward or backward motion of a ship or boat through water

[In singular with modifier or possessive; informal] A particular area or locality

A particular aspect of something

  • A respect

[In singular with adjective] A specified condition or state

[Nautical; ways] A sloping structure down which a new ship is launched

[Nautical; as part of a phrase] Under way

Verb, intransitive:
[Weigh on] be depressing or burdensome to

Assess the nature or importance of, especially with a view to a decision or action

  • Influence a decision or action

Verb, transitive:
Find out how heavy someone or something is, typically using scales

  • Have a specified weight
  • Balance in the hands to guess or as if to guess the weight of
  • [Weigh something out] Measure and take from a larger quantity of a substance a portion of a particular weight

Assess the nature or importance of, especially with a view to a decision or action

  • [Weigh something against] Compare the importance of one factor with that of another
Examples:
Initialism:
WAE provides an architecture for communication between wireless devices and Web servers.

The WAEs to UML have become a popular extension to the UML for modeling web applications.

For WAE Information, please consult 16 FAM 214.

Noun:
“There was an honest farmer that had kept up a sore struggle, my own very heart was wae for him when I put his bill in the packet.” –Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant, A Widow’s Tale and Other Stories

“He fell in a rain of tears, fearing nor death nor hardship, I knew, but wae at the abandonment of his home.” –Neil Munro, John Splendid

Wae is me!

Adverb:
His understanding of what constitutes good writing is way off target.

My grandchildren are way ahead of others their age.

I was cycling way too fast.

The guys behind the bar were way cool.

Noun:
Worry was their way of showing how much they cared.

There are two ways of approaching this problem.

It was not his way to wait passively for things to happen.

Many foreigners adopt French ways.

He was showing off, as is the way with adolescent boys.

The address is No. 3, Church Way.

Can you tell me the way to Duffy Square?

We’re going in the back way.

They still had a long way ahead of them.

The area’s wine industry still has some way to go to full maturity.

September was a long way off.

Christine tried to follow but Martin blocked her way.

We just missed another car coming the other way.

The national vote split three ways.

It was a five-way bidding war.

I shouldered my way to the bar.

The dinghy lost way and drifted toward the shore.

I’ve got a sick cousin over Fayetteville way.

I have changed in every way.

The family was in a poor way.

The ship slid down the ways.

Verb, intransitive:
His unhappiness would weigh on my mind so much.

The evidence weighed heavily against him.

Verb, transitive:
Weigh yourself on the day you begin the diet.

The vendor weighed the vegetables.

When the twins were born, they weighed ten pounds.

She picked up the brick and weighed it in her right hand.

She weighed out two ounces of loose tobacco.

The consequences of the move would need to be very carefully weighed.

They need to weigh the benefit against the risk.

Derivatives:
Adjective: under way, underway, wayless
Adverb: under way
Adjective: weighable
Noun: weigher
Phrasal Verb
weigh someone down
weigh in
weigh in at
weigh in with
weigh into
weigh out
weigh someone / something up
History of the Word:
Old English weg is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch weg and German Weg, from a base meaning move or carry. Old English wegan is of Germanic origin and related to wagon and wain and to the Dutch wegen meaning weigh, the German bewegen meaning move, both of which are from an Indo-European root shared by the Latin vehere meaning convey. Earlier meanings included transport from one place to another and raise up.

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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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