Word Confusion: Tort versus Torte

Posted February 16, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

This one was a query of my own. It’s not a word confusion I come across too often, and I was curious. Shockingly enough, it was an easy (and short!) explanation, and I assumed my Internet search for the appropriate images would be the same.

But instead of the legal papers I was expecting to see, there were acres and acres of lovely looking cakes, you know, what are supposed to be tortes. I was appalled at how many people are totally clueless that it’s the torte that’s the yummy cake — they both end in e, so there’s a hint.

I’m also curious to know if more tortes were served instead of torts, if the courts would be any sweeter. Er, I mean, if they’d be more amenable to a sweeter judgment.

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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Tort Torte
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

first page of a tort

Image by [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Al Odah v. Bush is part of the history of the Alien Tort Act.

sacher torte

Image by Geo Swan (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Part of Grammar:
Plural: torts
Plural: tortes, torten
[Law] A wrongful act, not including a breach of contract or trust, that results in injury to another’s person, property, reputation, or the like, and for which the injured party is entitled to compensation A sweet cake or tart
Tort is the legal term for an injury, as in tort law.

O.J. Simpson was acquitted in criminal court of murder but later found liable for the tort of wrongful death.

Tort law is different from criminal law.

I adore sacher torte.

Tortes are usually baked in a springform pan.

The Hungarian Dobos torte is made with six layers of homemade sponge cake and chocolate buttercream and topped with wedges of crisp caramel-topped cake.

History of the Word:
Middle English in the general sense of wrong, injury.

From the Old French which derived from the medieval Latin tortum meaning wrong, injustice.

A neuter past participle of the Latin torquere meaning to twist.

From the German Torte which came via the Italian from late Latin torta meaning round loaf, cake.

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

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