Word Confusion: Dairy versus Diary

Posted April 20, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

The word confusion over dairy and diary is more one of transposition with writers flipping the a and i about. Spellcheck is not going to pick up on inappropriate context, so you need to be aware.

That said, dairy refers to anything made from milk whether it’s from cows, sheep, goats, etc. Diary — use that i (coming before the a) as a reminder that I am writing whether it’s one’s thoughts or feelings to noting daily events in one’s life.

Depending upon pronunciation, this Word Confusion pair can be an heterograph.

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.

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Dairy Diary
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: diary

A towering pile of cheeses

“Hard Cheeses” by Eva K. is under the GFDL 1.2 or FAL licenses, via Wikimedia Commons

Amazing the variety of dairy products that can be made.

An opened diary displaying an entry for March 20 and 21 in 1864

Isaiah Goddard Hacker, a soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War, 1864, kept a “Pocket Diary” (1839-1925) is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Adjective; Noun
Plural for non: dairies
Plural for noun: diaries
[Attrib.] Containing or made from milk

  • Concerned with or involved in the production of milk

[Jewish dietary law] Of or relating to dairy, in contrast to meat and meat products

A building, room, or establishment for the storage, processing, and distribution of milk and milk products

  • A store where milk and milk products are sold
  • Food made from or containing milk
A book in which one keeps a daily record of events, feelings, attitudes, and experiences that are usually private

A book for keeping such a record

A book or pad containing pages marked and arranged in calendar order, in which to note appointments and the like

The Joneses try to support local farmers and especially enjoy the organic dairy foods.

Smith is a dairy farmer.

Cheeses, butter, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, and cottage cheese are all dairy products.

Check the dairy case at the supermarket.

Be sure to sterilize the dairy room after the pick-up.

We have an order in with the dairy to delivery a gallon of milk, a pint of cream and half a pound of butter daily.

The dairy is closing down next month.

He avoids red meat, processed foods, and dairy in his diet.

I resolved to keep a diary of events during the war.

I won’t forget, as I wrote it in my diary.

Martha Ballard’s diary, in which she wrote almost every day for twenty years from January 1, 1785 to May 12, 1812, is quite useful for insight into early American history (Martha Ballard’s Diary Online).

If you’re curious, WikiHow has a post on “How To Write a Diary“.

Noun: dairying, dairymaid, dairyman Noun: diarist
History of the Word:
Middle English deierie is from deie meaning dairymaid (in Old English dǣge meaning female servant) is of Germanic origin and related to Old Norse deigja, also to dough and to the second element of Old English hlǣfdige. Late 16th century from the Latin diarium, from dies meaning day.

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:

Double-Stuf-Oreos” is Evan-Amos’ own work under the CC0 license and “Milk Glass” is Stefan Kühn’s own work under the GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 licenses; both are via Wikimedia Commons. “Diary” is courtesy of Shabd.