Word Confusion: Peer versus Pier

Posted June 26, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

There is no way that someone is going to pier into your window. Not unless a hurricane is involved. Now peering into your window…well, now, that just makes them a peeping tom!

Go ahead and peer over this post on “Peer versus Pier” and pore over how a pier may help prop your structure up in this pair of heterographs.

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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Peer Pier
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: peer and pier

A detail from a portrait of the Duke of Wellington

“Lord Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington” was painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wellington was a peer of the realm, but without peer on the battlefield.

A basic pier located on sparkling blue waters

“Muelle El Quisco 02” is Jorge Barrios’ own work and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Looks like a working pier to me.

Part of Grammar:
Noun 1; Verb 1; Verb, intransitive 2

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: peers
Past tense or past participle: peering
Gerund or present participle: peered

Plural for noun: piers
A member of the nobility in Britain or Ireland, comprising the ranks of duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron 1

A person of the same age, status, or ability as another specified person

  • A nobleman

A person of the same legal status

Something of equal worth or quality

[Archaic] A companion

  • A mate

[Archaic] Make or become equal with or of the same rank 1

Verb, intransitive:
Look keenly or with difficulty at someone or something 2

  • Be just visible
  • [Archaic] Come into view
  • Appear
A platform supported on pillars or girders leading out from the shore into a body of water, used as a landing stage for boats

  • A structure supported on pillars leading out to sea and used as an entertainment area, typically incorporating arcades and places to eat
  • A breakwater or mole
  • A buttress

A ssupport of masonry, steel, or the like designed to sustain vertical pressure, in particular

  • A pillar supporting an arch or a bridge
  • A section of a wall between windows or other adjacent openings
  • Support for a deck, trailer, or vehicle

A square pillar

A pillar or post on which a gate or door is hung

A long passageway or corridor that extends from a central area of a building, especially one at an airport that leads to boarding gates

Peers range from dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts, and barons and are hereditary.

Peers are entitled to a seat in the House of Lords and exemption from jury service.

He has incurred much criticism from his academic peers.

He is a musician without peer.

He will be tried by a jury of his peers.

The peer pressure is so intensive in high school.

The Thames could not peer with the mill-streamlet close to my home.” – Thomas Hardy, Littell’s Living Age

Verb, intransitive:
Blake screwed up his eyes, trying to peer through the fog.

The two towers peer over the roofs.

“For yet a many of your horsemen peer…”

Faye peered at her with suspicion.

We peered into the windows to see if anyone was home.

Our boat is moored on Pier 3.

We can fish from the pier.

Pier 39 is a must on your list of things to do in San Francisco, with sea lions, waterfront dining, street performers, live music, shopping, and more.

This front entrance design features exposed, natural wood beams and massive-looking wood piers.

The pilaster assembly is designed to float around the piers, allowing for movement due to freezing and thawing.

A deck pier block a type of footing, a foundation type recognized by building codes.

The aisle in this basilica separates the nave from the corridor by the use of piers.

While using a pier design does allow a larger number of aircraft to taxi in, it does create a longer distance for passengers to walk.

Adjective: peer-to-peer, peerless
Adverb: peeringly
Noun: peerage, peeress, peering,
Noun: underpier
History of the Word:
1 Middle English from the Old French peer, which is from the Latin par meaning equal.
2 Late 16th century, perhaps as a variant of dialect pire; perhaps partly from a shortening of appear.
Middle English from the medieval Latin pera, of unknown origin.

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:

“Sea Birds and Butterflies: Observations from the end of the pier” is courtesy of Stacey, via Cracked Pot Pieces.