Word Confusion: Fair versus Fare

Posted May 13, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

O fair maiden! How fare thee this day? is a nice way of telling a female she’s lookin’ good and asking how she’s doing today.

Now what if I turned this around with O fare, maiden! How fair this day? It sounds as though I’m first telling her to be and following it up by commenting on the weather.

Admittedly, this is a minor confusion simply because we don’t use fare much these days. Unless asking how much it costs to take a plane, train, or bus somewhere. But proper usage of any word will go a long way towards a better review on your book. I know it makes a difference for me. Throw me with a confused word, and it just irritates me. Toss a few more my way, and I start to dig in like a badger with each new mishap digging that poor book’s grave a little deeper.

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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Fair Fare
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Ferris Wheel” is courtesy of Vincent Chong

One finds ferris wheels at the fair.

“Chinese Buffet” was photographed by w:User:Spencer195 under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published or the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikipedia Commons.

I find Chinese food to be very tasty fare.

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

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: fairs
Past tense or past participle: faired

Noun 4, 5, 6; Verb, intransitive 4

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: fares
Past tense or past participle: fared
Gerund or present participle: faring

Reasonable, just, legitimate

Pleasing to the eye or mind

Without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage

[Dialect] To a high degree

[Archaic] Beautiful woman 1

A group of stalls or rides for the purpose of amusing 2

  • A periodic gathering for the sale of goods
  • An exhibition to promote particular products
  • [North American] An annual competitive exhibition of livestock, agricultural products, etc., held by a town, county, or state

Verb, intransitive:
[Dialect; of the weather] Become fine

Verb, transitive:
To make the connection or junction of surfaces smooth and even

[Shipbuilding] To draw and adjust the lines of a hull being designed to produce regular surfaces of the correct form

To adjust the form of a frame or template in accordance with a design or cause it to conform to the general form of a hull

To restore a bent plate or structural member to its original form

To align the frames of a vessel under construction in proper position

To bring rivet holes in connecting structural members into perfect alignment

[Obsolete] To make fair

Money paid for transportation 5

  • A passenger paying to travel in a vehicle, especially a taxicab

A range of food, especially of a particular type 6

  • Performance or entertainment of a particular style

Verb, intransitive:
Perform in a particular way or over a particular period of time

Perform in a specified way in a particular situation or over a particular period of time

  • [Archaic] Happen
  • Turn out

[Archaic] Travel

Per the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress, one may use copyrighted material provided it is a fair use situation.

She is quite the fair-haired one.

It was a fair estate.

The game was played fairly.

She’ll be fair delighted to see you.

No one could say he played fair.

Are you going to the State Fair this year?

Mom said that, if we get our chores done, we can go to the fair.

The Parkers brought home six blue ribbons from the county fair!

She is my lady fair.

He pursued his fair down the lane.

Verb, intransitive:
Looks like it’s fairing off some.

Verb, transitive:
For the last two days, I have been fairing my 18′ Banks dory.

I’ll fair the hull several times because the fairing mix shrinks over time.

The rivet holes are not fair.

It is fully faired and race ready.

Avoid the fare at that inn!

What’s the fare to get to Albuquerque?

What’s the fare, cabbie?

Where can I find some delicious Provençal fare?

Eh, it’s conventional Hollywood fare.

Verb, intransitive:
The house has not fared well over the years.

How are you faring?

The party fared badly in the spring elections.

Beware that it fare not with you as with your predecessor.

‘Tis a young knight fares forth on his quest.

Adjective: fair-haired, fair-market value, fair-minded, fair-sized, fair-skinned, fair-spoken, fair-trade agreement, fair-weather friend, faired, fairer, fairest, fairish
Adverb: fair-mindedly, fairer, fairest, fairly
Noun: fair-mindedness, faire, fairground, fairing [archaic], fairness, fairwater, fairway, fayre [pseudo-archaic]
Adjective: fare-paying
Exclamation: farewell
Noun: fare-thee-well, fare-you-well, farer, farewell
Phrasal Verb
fair off
fair up
History of the Word:
1 Old English fæger meaning pleasing, attractive is of Germanic origin and related to the Norwegian vakker meaning beautiful.

2 Middle English, in the sense of periodic gathering for the sale of goods, which is from the Old French feire, which is from the late Latin feria, the singular of Latin feriae meaning holy days on which such fairs were often held.

3 Old English in the sense of beautify and appear or become clean. The current sense dates from the mid-19th century.

4 Old English fær or faru meaning traveling, a journey or expedition, faran meaning to travel, also get on (well or badly), and is of Germanic origin and related to the Old Norse ferja meaning ferryboat, also to ford.

5 Stems from an earlier meaning, a journey for which a price is paid.

6 Originally used with reference to the quality or quantity of food provided, probably from the idea of faring well or badly.

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:

Southwest New Livery by MamaGeek is at the English language Wikipedia under the GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 licenses, via Wikimedia Commons.