Word Confusion: Broach versus Brooch

Posted December 27, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Whale-watching is so incredibly amazing. I love watching them broach the water, but if I ever see one wearing a brooch…well, I just might faint dead away. It’d be like seeing someone wearing a lip ring or a barbell through their eyebrow. I mean, where would a whale go to get a piercing like that done?

You may also want to explore “Breach versus Breech” when it comes to whales.

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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Broach Brooch
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Whale Broaching” uploaded by sosingleton courtesy of Photobucket

Ships brooch by De Porceleyne Fles of Delft with maritime inspired silver setting 1892

“Porceleyne Fles Ship’s Brooch” is Delftjewelrypal’s own work [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I love the combination of crackled porcelain with its elaborate frame in this brooch.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1; Verb , 2, 3, intransitive 1 & transitive 2

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: broaches
Past tense or past participle: broached
Gerund or present participle: broaching

Plural: brooches
Noun: 1
Sudden and hazardous veering of a ship possibly suffering damage

Spit for roasting meat

Long, tapered, toothed cutting tool for enlarging holes

Roof covering the corner triangle on the top of a square tower having an octagonal spire

Tool used to tapping kegs

Verb, intransitive:
A fish or mammal breaking the surface of the water 1

[Nautical] A ship with the wind on the quarter veers and pitches forward because of bad steering or a sea hitting the stern, causing it to present a side to the wind and sea, lose steerage, and possibly suffer serious damage 1

Verb, transitive: 2
Raise a sensitive or difficult subject for discussion

Make a hole in something for the specific purpose of drawing off liquid

Pierce a cask to draw liquor

Piece of jewelry

An ornament fastened to clothing with a hinged pin and catch

Get the broach and we’ll tap this keg.

Verb, intransitive:
The whale broached with a mighty leap.

We had broached badly, side on to the wind and sea.

The ship would have broached to if the captain had not sprung to the wheel.

Verb, transitive:
He broached the subject he had been avoiding all evening.

He broached the last cask of wine.

When I broached the subject of her attack, she burst into tears.

Do you plan to wear your lion brooch tonight?

I can’t believe Geoffrey gave you that emerald brooch!

That brooch is part of a set with a necklace, earrings, and tiara.

Adjective: unbroached
Noun: broacher
Verb, transitive: unbrooch
History of the Word:
1 Early-18th century

From the Old French brochier, based on the Latin brocchus, broccus meaning projecting:

  • 2 Late 16th century, this is a figurative use
  • 3 Late Middle English with the earliest recorded sense was prick with spurs, part of the general meaning, pierce with something sharp
Middle English, a variant of broach, originally meaning skewer or bodkin, which is from the Old French broche meaning spit for roasting and based on the Latin brocchus, broccus meaning projecting.

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

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

“Breaching Humpback Whale” by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith, 12 June 2013, [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. “On this summer’s trip to Alaska, we were again fortunate enough to have calm seas and clear weather out of Seward on a Kenai Fjords tour. At least eight different marine mammal species put in an appearance. This humpback whale was kind enough to breach four times next to our boat, giving me plenty of time to setup the focus and composition. The Common Murre in the foreground did not seem the least bit perturbed…”

“Vintage Coro Brooch” is available through ArtFire and is “set with a faceted emerald colored center oval ‘stone’ surrounded by faux pearls. The gold tone decorative base has ornately detailed scrollwork and 6 smaller emerald colored stones. Pin back is marked Coro in script.