Word Confusion: Anecdote versus Antidote

Posted June 16, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 15 February 2018

Hmmm, anecdote or antidote? Well, I know which one I want to swallow if I ever get snakebit! You can always tell me your story later!

Of course, your anecdote may be so b-o-r-i-n-g that I want to swallow an antidote if I have to listen to it or I may prefer to succumb to the snakebite, but, well, the only other antidote I can think of is drinking until I’m stupid or asleep. I could always leave… Perhaps I could sic the snake on you, hmmm, that has possibilities…

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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Anecdote Antidote
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Black-and-white photo of a mob-capped black woman sitting in a rocker on stage

“Storyteller Annie Tomlin”, White Springs, Florida, is courtesy of State Library and Archives of Florida and has no known copyright restrictions, via VisualHunt.

Anecdotes are told by people who tell stories.


A pen-and-ink sketch of a sling holding someone's arm at a 90-degree angle

Image from page 940 of “Dr. Evans’ How to keep well” (1917) is courtesy of Internet Archive Book Images and has no known copyright restrictions, via VisualHunt.

I tend to think of an antidote as something one takes internally, but an antidote can be anything that counteracts something bad.

Part of Grammar:
Noun
Plural: anecdotes, anecdota
Noun; Verb, transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: antidotes
Past tense or past participle: antidoted
Gerund or present participle: antidoting

A short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person

  • An account regarded as unreliable or hearsay
  • Depiction of a minor narrative incident in a painting

[Homeopathy] Substance that cancels or opposes the effect of a remedy

Noun:
Medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison

Something that counteracts or neutralizes an unpleasant feeling or situation

Verb, transitive:
Counteract or cancel with a medicine or external remedy

Examples:
Great Aunt Mabel was full of anecdotes about the family.

James was always telling anecdotes about his job.

George had a rich store of anecdotes.

His wife’s death has long been the subject of rumor and anecdote.

Noun:
Laughter is the best medicine, an antidote to stress.

Quick, give him the antidote!

Good jobs are the best antidote to teenage crime.

Verb, transitive:
What remedy will antidote Bryonia?

What remedy will antidote henbane?

Medication was given to antidote the poison the child had swallowed.

Derivatives:
Adjective: anecdotal, anecdotic
Noun: anecdotalist, anecdotist
Adjective: antidotal, antidotical
Adverb: antidotally, antidotically
History of the Word:
Late 17th century via modern Latin from the Greek anekdota, things unpublished, from an- (not) + ekdotos, from ekdidōnai meaning publish. Late Middle English from the Greek antidoton, neuter of antidotos meaning given against, from anti- (against) + didonai (give).

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:

Anecdote by Evan is courtesy of Morbid Holiday, LOL!