Word Confusion: Aid versus Aide

Posted May 4, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 15 October 2017

It was disconcerting to read of the aide that was being given to a group of refugees. Now, I’m not sure if he (or she??) was being handed over to be a meal or a servant. Either way, it was grim.

If they’d said aid, that I would have understood. ‘Cause, ya know, refugees need help. And that’s what aid is, assistance, support, saving someone’s bacon…not being the bacon in this pair of heterograhs!

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. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Aid Aide
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

A Finnish first aid street sign

“Finnish Traffic Sign No. 715” modified by Antti Palsola is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Finnish put up first aid street signs.

Portrait of Broderick Johnson

Former lobbyist, Broderick Johnson, is the president’s aide whom he’s sending to Freddie Gray’s funeral in Baltimore.

Part of Grammar:
Abbreviation; Noun 1;
Verb 2, intransitive & transitive

Past tense or past participle: aided
Gerund or Present participle: aiding

Abbreviation; Noun
Plural for the noun: aides

Help, typically of a practical nature

  • Financial or material help given to a country or area in need
  • A person or thing that is a source of help or assistance
  • [Historical] A grant of subsidy or tax to a king

Verb, intransitive:
Help, assist, or support someone or something in the achievement of something

Verb, transitive:
Help, assist, or support someone or something in the achievement of something

  • Promote or encourage something

An assistant to an important person, especially to a political leader

  • A military officer acting as a confidential assistant to a senior officer
Agency for International Development

Artificial insemination by donor

He saw the pilot slumped in his cockpit and went to his aid.

Within six weeks, he was walking with the aid of a walker.

They flew in 700,000 tons of food aid.

The Red Cross sends in aid convoys.

The concert was in aid of the earthquakes in Asia.

Exercise is an important aid to recovery after heart attacks.

Computers can be a useful teaching aid.

Verb, intransitive:
The heel of the shoe was slanted to aid in climbing hilly terrain.

Verb, transitive:
Women were aided in childbirth by midwives.

Diet and exercise aid healthy skin.

Advanced Intrusion Detection Environment

He’s a presidential aide now.

Hospitals are using a lot of nurse’s aides these days.

Students interested in political studies sometimes apply to be congressional aides.

He’s acting as General Marshall’s aide-de-camp as of last Thursday.

Adjective: aidful, aidless, unaided
Adverb: unaidedly
Noun: aider
History of the Word:
Late Middle English from the Old French aïde 1, aïdier 2, based on the Latin adjuvare, from ad- (toward) + juvare (to help). First known use: 1670

From the French ide de camp, meaning literally, camp assistant

Aide alone was first used in 1777.

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

From a post, “Nursing Assistant & Medicaid Nurse Aide“, courtesy of the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College by Jennifer Nolan, RN.

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