Word Confusion: Pause versus Paws

Posted September 23, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 28 September 2017

To be fair, I haven’t run across this word confusion myself, but I did like the mental image it created in my mind. And it’s always possible that some winsome lass would prefer that the lecher pause in his pawing while most of us would prefer that the old windbag would pause in his speechifying. Truly a nightmare to suffer through his words pawing through our minds.

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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Pause Paws
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: pause

“Pause” courtesy of Iain Claridge.net

“Zoo Shoot” is Nimitnigam’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Those leopard paws look cute…but deadly.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: pauses
Past tense or past participle: paused
Gerund or present participle: pausing

Plural for the noun and third person present verb for paw

Verb, intransitive & transitive

Past tense or past participle: pawed
Gerund or present participle: pawing
NO: pawsing

Temporary stop in action or speech

  • [Music] A mark () over a note or rest that is to be lengthened by an unspecified amount
  • [Medical] A temporary stop or cessation
  • [Prosody] A break or suspension, as a caesura, in a line of verse

[Pause button] A control allowing the temporary interruption of an electronic or mechanical process, especially video or audio recording or reproduction

Verb, intransitive:
Interrupt action or speech briefly

Verb, transitive:
Temporarily interrupt the operation of a videotape, audiotape, or computer program

An animal’s foot having claws and pads

[Chiefly derogatory] A person’s hand

Verb, intransitive:
[Of an animal] Feel or scrape with a paw or hoof

At this point in my talk, I’ll pause.

He paused, giving himself a chance to take a breath.

Verb, transitive:
[Of an animal] Feel or scrape with a paw or hoof

  • [Informal (of a person)] Touch or handle awkwardly or roughly
  • [Of a person] Touch someone in a lascivious and offensive way
She dropped me outside during a brief pause in the rain.

The admiral chattered away without pause.

Verb, intransitive:
She paused, at a loss for words.

Verb, transitive:
She had paused a tape on the VCR.

Touch her with your filthy paws, and I’ll ram my fist into your face.

Verb, intransitive:
Young dogs may paw at the floor and whine.

Public outrage has given him pause.

Verb, transitive:
The horse rose on its strong haunches, its forelegs pawing the air.

He had pawed his way through a copious meal.

Some overweight, ugly Casanova had tried to paw her.

Adjective: pausal, pauseful, pauseless
Adverb: pausefully, pauselessly
Adjective: unpawed
Noun: pawer
History of the Word:
Late Middle English from Old French, which came from the Latin pausa, which itself is from the Greek pausis, from pausein meaning to stop. Middle English from the Old French poue, probably of Germanic origin and related to Dutch poot.

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

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

A Daily Mail reporter wrote a 25 May 2011 post, “What would Tom and Jerry say? Children DON’T enjoy violence in TV programmes“, which included a graphic of Tom and Jerry, the copyright of which belongs to Alamy.