Word Confusion: Click versus Clique

Posted April 12, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 20 August 2017

I don’t often run afoul of this particular word confusion, but when I do, I just feel so shut out. I guess I’m just not part of that particular crowd; I’ll have to click my way across the Internet and find my own clique.

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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Click Clique
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: clique; Your Dictionary.com: clique

“Click” courtesy of Javier Garrido at Virsa English World

“Gang Members” courtesy of National Geographic

Any group with a particular interest can be a clique.

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

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: clicks
Past tense or past participle: clicked
Gerund or present participle: clicking

Noun 2
Verb, intransitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: cliques
Past tense or past participle: cliqued
Gerund or present participle: cliquing

A short, sharp sound as of a switch being operated or of two hard objects coming quickly into contact

[Phonetics] An ingressive consonantal stop produced by sudden withdrawal of the tongue from the soft palate, front teeth, or back teeth and hard palate, occurring in some southern African and other languages

[Computing] An act of pressing a button on a mouse or similar device.

[Medicine] A slight sharp sound, such as that heard from the heart during systole

Verb, intransitive:
Make or cause to make a short, sharp sound

  • [Computing] Select an item in a graphical user interface by pressing a button on a mouse

[Informal] Become suddenly clear or understandable

  • Quickly become friendly or intimate
  • Become successful or popular

Verb, transitive:
Make or cause to make a short, sharp sound

  • [Computing] Select an item in a graphical user interface by pressing a button on a mouse
A small exclusive group of people

  • Coterie, set, circle, ring, in-crowd, group
  • Club, society, fraternity, sorority
  • Cabal, caucus
  • [Informal] Gang

Verb, intransitive:
[Informal] To form, or associate in, an exclusive group

  • To act with others secretly to gain a desired end
  • To plot
We heard the click of the timer.

She heard the click of the door.

The !Kung bushmen in The Gods Must Be Crazy use a click language.

Do a right-click to open a dialogue box with other options.

Verb, intransitive:
The camera clicked.

It finally clicked in my head.

We just clicked that night.

The key clicked in the lock and the door opened.

Click on the illustration for a larger version.

Finally it clicked what all the fuss had been about.

We just clicked, and I found myself falling in love.

I didn’t meet a woman who I really clicked with until I was 40.

I don’t think this issue has clicked with the voters.

Verb, transitive:
She clicked off the light.

Martha clicked her tongue.

The clicking cameras outside the church.

Click the left mouse button twice.

Almost no one from our clique has shown up for the reunion.

They’re a tight-knit little clique.

Remember the cliques in high school?

Verb, intransitive:
They cliqued together.

Adjective: clickless
Noun: clicker
Adverb: cliquishly
Adjective: cliquish, cliqueless, cliquey, cliquy
Noun: cliquishness, cliquism, subclique
History of the Word:
1 Late 16th century: imitative. 2 Early 18th century from the Old French cliquer meaning make a noise.

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

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Pinterest Photo Credits

Members of the Pitt Dance Team 2 is Danceteamcherleaders’ own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.