Word Confusion: Angel versus Angle

Posted May 28, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 16 October 2017

It’s just two letters transposed that can completely change the meaning of your sentence — or make you look like an idiot! The best suggestion I can offer up to help when you’re “editing on the run” is to keep in mind the hard sound of an angle, that stiff sound of the g meeting the l. Now, aanngelll is so much softer…

Or think about that angel and what angle he might be playing when he shows up at the foot of your bed..!

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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Angel Angle
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Angel Wallpaper” courtesy of FanPop

“Angle Measure” is Gustavb’s own work under the GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or the CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Illustration showing the measuring of the angle θ.

Part of Grammar:
Noun; Verb, transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: angels
Past tense or past participle: angeled, angelled [British] Gerund or present participle: angeling, angelling [British]

Noun 1, 2, 3;
Verb 1, 2

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: angles
Past tense or past participle: angled
Gerund or present participle: angling

A spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God

[Informal] Financial backer of an enterprise, typically in the theater

[Aviation] Unexplained radar echo

Person of exemplary conduct or virtue

A term of endearment

Used in approval when a person has been or is expected to be kind or willing to oblige

[Simile] Used to refer to a person’s outstanding beauty, qualities, or abilities

Verb, transitive:
[Informal] To provide financial backing for

Space usually measured in degrees between two intersecting lines or surfaces at or close to the point where they meet 1

A corner, especially, an external projection of an internal recess of a part of a building or other structure


Position from which something is viewed or along which it travels or acts

Particular way of approaching or considering an issue or problem

[Astrology] Each of the four mundane houses that extend counterclockwise from the cardinal points of the compass and often used with an adjective

Angle iron or a similar construction material made of another metal

[Archaic] A fishhook 2

Member of a Germanic people, originally inhabitants of what is now Schleswig-Holstein, who migrated to England in the 5th century AD, founding kingdoms in Mercia, Northumbria, and East Anglia. Gave their name to England and the English. 3

Verb, intransitive:
Move or be inclined at an angle 1

Fish with rod and line 2

  • Seek something desired by indirectly promoting someone to offer it

Seek something desired by indirectly prompting someone to offer it

Verb, transitive:
Direct or incline at an angle 1

Present information to reflect a particular view or have a particular focus

Oh, darling, would you be an angel and help me with this?

She sang like an angel.

George, she looks like an angel,” he sighed.

We need some angel investors.

Verb, transitive:
Two wealthy friends angeled the Broadway revival of his show.

Hey, there’s a skylight in the angle of that roof.

Poor guy, I can tell from the angle of his shoulders that he’s depressed.

From this angle, the sniper could see everything.

So that’s the angle you’re taking!

Verb, intransitive:
Ralph had begun to angle for an invitation.

Her husband was angling to get into the Cabinet.

Now, wait just wait a minute, what are you angling for?

He was angling for something, some bit of info he could sell.

Joe intends to angle for that big trout.

Verb, transitive:
You can always tell the military boys in the way they always angled their chairs to watch everyone in the room.

Anna angled her camera toward the tree.

He angled his chair so that he could watch her.

Adjective: angelic Adjective: angled
Noun: angler
History of the Word:
Old English engel from the ecclesiastical Latin from the Greek angelos meaning messenger.

The Middle English engel was superseded by the Old French angele.

1 Late Middle English, from the Latin angulus meaning corner via Old French.

2 Old English

3 From the Latin Anglus; the plural is Angli meaning the people of Angul, a district of Schleswig, which is now in northern Germany, so called because of its shape. It’s of Germanic origin and related to the Old English angul 2.

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:

Fisherman at Lake Merced is Brocken Inaglory’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL license, and The Angel Gabriel Sent by God by Giotto is in the public domain; both are via Wikimedia Commons.

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