Word Confusion: Whicker versus Wicker

Posted April 25, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I gotta tell ya…the only place one would encounter a whicker basket is in a fantasy in which normally inanimate objects come alive. I’d surmise that a whickering basket was happy in its home. Now, if we were talkin’ wicker basket, I’d reckon it was made out of a flexible, pliant twig.

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.

Whicker Wicker
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: wicker

Old woman laughing

Image is The Photographer’s own work [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Audio courtesy of Freesound.org

A whicker of laughter

Empty wicker chair

Image is Tamorlan’s own work [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I do love the homey feel of a wicker chair.

Part of Grammar:
Noun; Verb, intransitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: whickers
Past tense or past participle: whickered
Gerund or present participle: whickering

Adjective; Noun
A snigger

  • A soft, breathy whinny

The sound of something beating the air

Verb, intransitive:
Utter a half-suppressed laugh

  • Snigger
  • Titter
  • [Of a horse] Give a soft breathy whinny

Move with a sound as of something hurtling through or beating the air

Consisting or made of wicker

Covered with wicker

A slender, pliant twig

  • Osier
  • Withe

Plaited or woven twigs or osiers as the material of baskets, chairs, etc.

Something made of wickerwork

Whickers from multiple horses whispered in the air.

Verb, intransitive:
Flicka whickered when she heard me coming.

Te palomino whickered when she saw him and stamped her foreleg.

The soft whicker of the wind flowing through the July corn soothed me.

Oh, Helen, I found the cutest wicker chairs.

What purpose does a wicker-covered jug serve?

Helen collects wicker baskets to store her fabrics.

Wickerwork exposed to weather will rot.

History of the Word:
Mid-17th century, imitative, in the sense of to snigger or titter. Middle English of Scandinavian origin. Compare with the Swedish viker meaning willow and related to vika meaning to bend.

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