Word Confusion: Guise versus Guys

Posted July 10, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

I get that it can be confusing when a guy goes forth in guise as a woman. But, it’s never an excuse to call those guys guise!

So you can imagine my own confusion when I read about the “guise who sat around drinking beer…”

And yet another 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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Guise Guys
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: guise and guy; SpanishDict.com: guise; Free Dictionary: guise

Banjo player in a crazy disguise

“Carnival Party Banjo” by Infrogmation under the GFDL 1.2 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Guises seem to be the name of the game at this carnival.

Three women standing with plates of food in their hands

“Friendships fostered between Nago Women’s Group, spouses of Marines 140516-M-XX123-024” by Lance Cpl. Thor Larson is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hey guys, where can I get a plate?

Part of Grammar:
Noun and Proper Noun;
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: guises
Past tense or past participle: guised
Gerund or present participle: guising

Plural for guy

Abbreviation; Noun 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Proper Noun;
Verb, transitive 1, 2

Third person present verb: guys
Past tense or past participle: guyed
Gerund or present participle: guying

An external form, appearance, or manner of presentation, typically concealing the true nature of something

General external appearance

  • Aspect
  • Semblance

Assumed appearance

[Archaic] Manner, mode, or style of dress

[Obsolete] Customary behavior

  • Habit

Proper Noun:
[Geographical] Originally, a seigneurie (fief), it became a county in France in 1417 for René, a younger son of Louis II of Anjou

Verb, intransitive:
[Scottish and North England] To appear or go in disguise

To act as a mummer in a folk play

Verb, transitive:
To dress or dress up

  • Attire
International vehicle registration for the country of Guyana

[Informal; mid-19th century; guys] A man 1

  • People of either sex

[British] A figure representing Guy Fawkes, burned on a bonfire on Guy Fawkes’ Night, and often displayed by children begging for money for fireworks 2

A rope or line fixed to the ground to secure a tent or other structure 3

A person of either sex, especially a man

  • A fellow 4
    • Used of and to women in address, and then almost invariably in the plural, but seldom in reference or in the singular

A woman’s fiancé, husband, lover, etc. 5

Proper Noun:
A male given name from a Germanic word meaning woods

Verb, transitive:
Make fun of 1

  • Ridicule

Secure with a line or lines 2

He visited in the guise of a gas inspector.

Telemarketing and selling under the guise of market research.

It was an old concept in a new guise.

He approached me under the guise of friendship.

Greek and Roman gods frequently seduced maidens in the guise of a shepherd.

He wore the guise of a merchant.

Proper Noun:
Mary de Guise was wife to both ouis II of Orleans, Duke of Longueville, and James V, King of Scots. Her daughter would become Mary, Queen of Scots.

François de Lorraine was the second Duc de Guise who lived from 1519–63 and was a French general and statesman as well as Mary de Guise’s brother.

Verb, intransitive:
The boys were guised when they went forth.

Verb, transitive:
They were children guised as cowboys.

Yeah, yeah, the car had one of those oval stickers with a “GUY” in it.

Hey, they’re nice guys.

You guys want some coffee?

We’ll be needing several guys on that evening.

Get those guys fastened down. We’re in for a hell of a storm.

Hey guys, let’s go shoe shopping.

What’d you guys do for Mother’s Day?

Just remember he’s my guy.

Proper Noun:
Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament in the Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

Guy Burgess was a British foreign office official and spy who fled to the former Soviet Union in 1951 with Donald Maclean.

Guy de Maupassant was a famous French novelist who died young.

Verb, transitive:
He didn’t realize I was guying the whole idea.

It was set on concrete footings and guyed with steel cable.

They’re guying the containers down right now.

Noun: disguise, guiser
Verb: disguise
Noun: guyliner
History of the Word:
Middle English from the Old French and of Germanic origin. 1 Mid-19th century.

2 Early 19th century, named after Guy Fawkes.

3 Late Middle English and probably of Low German origin. It is related to the Dutch gei meaning brail and the German Geitaue meaning brails.

4 1876 through today.

5 1940s through today.

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:

“2004 – Gay Pride, Brazil” by Rose Brasil/ABr (Agência Brasil) is under the CC BY 3.0 br license, via Wikimedia Commons.