Word Confusion: Mince versus Mints

Posted June 8, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions

Revised as of 13 October 2017

The only time I expect to run across a minty mince is when I’m eating ground lamb anything in a Greek restaurant. And while I may read about someone eating mince in a British story, I do not expect to be eating mince in an American-based story. Maybe minced garlic or minced mints or minced onions…but an American character in a story is gonna be eatin’ hamburger.

This Word Confusion pair is 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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Mince Mints
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: mint

A hamburger with all the fixings

“Beautiful Burger” by Marshall Astor from Olympia, WA, United States, is under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license, via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, mama! Now that’s what I call mince!

A close-up of a peppermint plant

“Mentha piperita – Peppermint” is Simon Eugster’s own work under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, via Wikimedia Commons

Several mint plants.

Part of Grammar:
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: minces

Past tense or past participle: minced

Gerund or present participle: mincing

Plural for the noun and third person present verb for mint

Adjective 1; Noun 1 and 2;
Verb 1, intransitive & transitive

Past tense or past participle: minted

Gerund or present participle: minting

Something minced, especially mincemeat

[Informal] Nonsensical rubbish

Verb, intransitive:
Walk with an affected delicacy or fastidiousness, typically with short quick steps

[Archaic] To act or speak with affected elegance

Verb, transitive:[Often as adjective minced] Cut up or grind food, especially meat, into very small pieces, typically in a machine with revolving blades

To soften or moderate, especially for the sake of convention or politeness

To perform or utter with affected elegance

To subdivide minutely, as land or a topic for study

[Of an object] In pristine condition

  • [Elliptically from in mint condition] As new

[Of coins, postage stamps, etc.] Being in its original, unused condition

[British slang] Very good, excellent, impressive

A place where money is coined, especially under state authority 1

  • [Informal] A vast sum of money

An aromatic plant native to temperate regions of the Old World, several kinds of which are used as culinary herbs 2

  • The flavor of mint, especially peppermint

A peppermint candy

Verb, transitive:
Make a coin by stamping metal

  • Produce for the first time
Minced beef is more commonly known as hamburger in America.

Put the mince on a dish.

Now who’s talking mince?

Mince and tatties are practically a national dish in Scotland.

Verb, intransitive:
There were plenty of secretaries mincing about.

Tommy came mincing in, a progression quite at odds with the chaps he was wearing.

Verb, transitive:We’ll need to mince up more beef for those hamburgers.

Let’s mince a variety of pork and venison for artisanal sausages.

He’s a gruff surgeon who does not mince words.

First, mince the garlic.

The director minced up the play.

I’m selling a pair of speakers including stands, mint, $160.

This rocker is in mint condition.

It’s pretty obvious they’re a group of newly minted doctors.

There was Dean, looking really mint in his new jacket.

Denver, Colorado, has a federal mint.

At least the car doesn’t cost a mint.

While similar, Mentha spicata, a.k.a., spearmint, and Mentha piperita, a.k.a., peppermint, have a distinct difference in taste.

I adore peppermint candy canes at Christmas.

The mint family are included with other aromatic herbs such as lavender, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Verb, transitive:
We found them minting Susan B. Anthony coins.

It’s a fine example of newly minted technology.

Adjective: unminced
Noun: mincemeat, mincer
Adjective: minty
Noun: minter
History of the Word:
Late Middle English from the Old French mincier is based on the Latin minutia meaning smallness. 1 Old English mynet meaning coin, is related to the Dutch munt and the German Münze, from the Latin moneta meaning money.
2 Old English minte is related to the German Minze, ultimately via Latin from the Greek minthē.

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:

“Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Sauce” by Celia is courtesy of AfterOrangeCounty.com.