Word Confusion: Sachet versus Sashay

Posted April 11, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 21 February 2018

I read about the woman who sacheted into the room, just as I’d taken a gulp of my lemonade…and promptly spewed it out. Considering that sachet is a noun, there is no way anyone could sachet. You can use a sachet, make a sachet, give ’em away as gifts, but since it is not a verb, there is no way someone can sachet as a movement.

I suppose one could sashay over to someone to hand them a sachet or six, but it’s still not sacheting.

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.

Sachet Sashay
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: sachet and sashay

Burlap sachets of herbes de Provence

“A Sachet of Herbes de Provence” is JPS68’s own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.

Latin woman in a tight dress, swinging her hips, as she walks on by while a black woman plays a drum and a Scotsman plays his bagpipes.

“Walk on By…Cultural Crossing” by indigo_girl is under the CC BY-SA-2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

She just sashays on by.

Part of Grammar:
Plural: sachets
Noun; Verb, intransitive 1

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: sashays
Past tense or past participle: sashayed
Gerund or present participle: sashaying

A small perfumed bag used to scent clothes

  • [Archaic] Dried, scented material for use in scenting clothes
  • A small soft bag containing perfumed powder, placed in drawers to scent clothing
  • The powder contained in such a bag

[British] A small sealed envelope, usually made of plastic or paper, for containing sugar, salt, shampoo, etc.

[In American square dancing] A figure in which partners circle each other by taking sideways steps

Verb, intransitive:
[Informal; chiefly North American] Walk in an ostentatious yet casual manner, typically with exaggerated movements of the hips and shoulders

  • To glide, move, or proceed easily or nonchalantly

Perform the sashay

I like to tuck a lavender sachet under my bed pillows.

Instead of mothballs, consider a sachet of lavender, rosemary, cedar, and/or bay leaves to put in with your woolen sweaters.

George always takes the soap and shampoo sachets in every hotel he stays in.

They performed the sashay and then the half sashay like champions.

He called for a Half Sashay, a sideways DoSaDo to end back where you started.

“Promenade a full 3/4, Grand Square, Half Sashay, Roll Away with a Half Sashay, Ladies In, Men Sashay…”

Verb, intransitive:
Louise was sashaying along in a long black satin dress.

Helen just sashayed in as if she belonged there.

We sashayed left in a counter-clockwise maneuver.

Noun: sachet powder
History of the Word:
1475-85 from Middle French and equivalent to sach-, a combining form of sac + the diminutive -et, from the Latin saccus meaning sack, bag. 1 Mid-19th century as an alteration of chassé.

Return to top

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

Pinterest Photo Credits

Sashay by Maria is via Flickr while Lavender Sachets are gorgeous and oh-so-fragrant.

Kathy's KD Did It signature