Word Confusion: Racket versus Racquet

Posted May 7, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Yep, I just knew there would be a difference between racket and racquet. Only…I didn’t realize the difference would be so minute!

Then again, racket seems to be a word with a lot more fun behind it. Illegal business activities — think racketeering! — and all the fun of making a racket. Although the neighbors may not be amused. Oopsies.

Racquet, well now…racquet is strictly sports-oriented. Great for the sports-minded, but not as much fun as racketing around is for the rest of us.

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.

Racket Racquet
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Children's birthday party outdoors

Image by Yesin (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Now that’s a racket!

Man playing racquetball

Image by Evan Pritchard (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kris Odegard at 2006 IRF World Racquetball Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1, 2, 3; Verb, intransitive & transitive 2

Past tense or past participle: racketed
Gerund or Present participle: racketing

Alternative spelling to racquet

Noun 1, 4

Alternative spelling to racket

A type of bat with a round or oval frame strung with catgut, nylon, etc., used especially in tennis, badminton, and squash 1

  • [Chiefly North American] A snowshoe resembling a tennis racket

[Singular] A loud unpleasant noise

  • A din
  • [Archaic] The noise and liveliness of fashionable society

[Slang] An illegal or dishonest scheme for obtaining money 3

  • A person’s line of business or way of life

Verb, intransitive:
Make a loud unpleasant noise

  • [Racket around] Enjoy oneself socially
  • Go in pursuit of pleasure or entertainment

Verb, transitive:
To strike a ball, shuttlecock, etc., with a racket

A type of bat with a round or oval frame strung with catgut, nylon, etc., used especially in tennis, badminton, and squash

  • [Chiefly North American] A snowshoe resembling a tennis racket

A game for two or four players with ball and racket on a 4-walled court 4

George, grab the rackets, and we’ll play a game.

The neighbors are making a racket.

He’s running a protection racket.

I’m in the insurance racket.

Verb, intransitive:
We’re just racketing around, looking for a bit of fun.

How can you think with those trains racketing by?

Will you kids stop racketing around!

Verb, transitive:
Racket the ball!

The original tracker’s snowshoe is the stereotypical snowshoe and resembles a tennis racquet, in fact, the French term for it is raquette de neige.

Racquetball is played with racquets.

Adjective: racketlike, rackety
Noun: rackets, racketeering
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Phrasal Verb
phrasal phrasal
History of the Word:
1 First known use: 1520

Early 16th century from French raquette, ultimately from the medieval Latin rasceta meaning wrist, carpus, and a modification of the Arabic rusgh meaning wrist.

2 Mid-16th century and perhaps imitative of clattering.

3 First used in 1785 and meaning dishonest activity is perhaps from racquet, via the notion of game and reinforced by rack-rent meaning extortionate rent as used in the 1590s.

1 Early 16th century from French raquette.

4 The game was invented in 1950.

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