Word Confusion: Bot versus Bought

Posted August 6, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 19 August 2017

I know. How could anyone possibly confuse bot with bought?

I’d love to buy a bot. A bought bot. It has a certain ring. It leads to fantasies of bots cleaning the house, doing the dishes. Skip all that factory assembly stuff. I want a bot that will do all the household chores. Take out the garbage.

These services can be bought whether it’s through inveigling hubby into taking out the garbage or giving the kids chores to, ahem, teach them character, or hiring a cleaning lady, gardener, snow removal, etc.

But a bot doesn’t need new clothes, doesn’t need to be fed other than a few cans of oil. They don’t have homework that has to be done yesterday. Nor do they need cupcakes for school. That morning.

No inveigling either. Just tell ’em: take out the garbage, mow the lawn, shovel the driveway. Bliss.

I want me a bought bot!

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.

Bot Bought
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

A robots exhibit in the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris

“Et lHomme créa le robot” by Guilhem Vellut from Tokyo, Japan, is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.

Bots from “Metropolis” (1927) and “I” (2004) displayed during the exhibition at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris.

A newspaper ad for Bought and Paid For with Jack Holt and Agnes Ayres

“Bought and Paid For”, a comedy movie from the 1920s by Paramount Pictures, is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Part of Grammar:
Combination Form 1;
Noun 2, 3
Past tense or past participle for buy
Verb, intransitive & transitive
Gerund or Present participle: buying
Combination Form:
Used to form nouns denoting a computer program or robot with a very specific function

[Chiefly in science fiction] A robot 2

  • [Computing] An autonomous program on a network (especially the Internet) that can interact with computer systems or users, especially one designed to respond or behave like a player in an adventure game

The larva of the botfly, which is an internal parasite of animals 3

Verb, intransitive:
Obtain in exchange for payment

  • Make a profession of purchasing goods for a store or firm

[Informal] Accept the truth of

Verb, transitive:
Obtain in exchange for payment

  • Buy someone out
  • Pay someone to give up an ownership, interest, or share
  • Procure the loyalty and support of someone by bribery
  • [Often with negative] Be a means of obtaining something through exchange or payment
  • Get by sacrifice or great effort

[Informal] Accept the truth of

Bought it

  • [Informal] Used to say that someone has died
Combination Form:
The Bionic Woman was considered a fembot because she was, not only a woman, but a collection of mechanical and electrical parts.

The overly gorgeous women from Austin Powers are all representative of fembots, robots designed to seduce the main character with their beauty.

An adbot, a.k.a., spybot, is spyware that gathers up information about a computer user’s online actions to more directly target them with products they think the user will buy.

J.V. Kade wrote the Bot Wars, the first in the Bot Wars science fiction series for middle grade readers.

“An Internet bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone (Wikipedia).”

The bot lives typically in the stomach, finally passing through the host’s dung and pupating on the ground.

Verb, intransitive:
Dr. Welsh hadn’t bought into the entertainment company.

Stephanie Plum had bought lingerie for a small company in New Jersey.

I had bought into a stereotype.

Verb, transitive:
We bought a house!

He had bought up the farm next door.

He bought me a new dress.

Maude bought the partners out.

Here was a man who could not be bought.

I bought off the investigators.

He hadn’t bought happiness, just a house and a fancy car.

Greatness is dearly bought.

I hadn’t bought the claim that the ends justify the means.

His friends had bought it in the jungle.

He bought us some time when he ran out there.

History of the Word:
1 Originated with robot

2 1960s, a shortening of robot

1 Early 16th century and probably of Low German origin.

Old English bycgan is of Germanic origin.

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Pinterest Photo Credits

“Wind-up Toy Robots” Invade Taubman North Lobby was part of an exhibit “Wind-Up Toy Robots from the Elaine Reed Collection” created and photographed by therapeutic artist Elaine Reed. The exhibit had been in the Taubman Center at the University of Michigan and had been sponsored by Gifts of Art. Hungarian Antique Three-Column Full-keyboard Cash Register, 1902, is Takkk’s own work under the CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDLlicense, via Wikimedia Commons.

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