Word Confusion: Fairy versus Ferry

Posted July 17, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

It does seem reasonable to confuse a fairy crossing with a ferry crossing except the fairy version has less water, in fact, it doesn’t have any water…just those mushrooms to make it a fairy ring that will ferry you to Fairy 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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Fairy Ferry
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: fairy and ferry


“Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell” in the movie “ Hook” is courtesy of
Luminous Chic Style.

Tinkerbell is a fairy in the Peter Pan stories.

A head-on view of a small ferry with two cars loaded on

“Buena Vista Ferry 06774” is Walter Siegmund’s own work under the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation, via Wikimedia Commons

The Buena Vista ferry as seen from the east landing on the Willamette River in Oregon.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective; Noun
Plural for noun: fairies
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: ferries
Past tense or past participle: ferried
Gerund or present participle: ferrying

Belonging to, resembling, or associated with fairies
Of the nature of a fairy

  • Fairylike

Resembling a fairy or fairies, especially in being enchanted or delicate

A small imaginary being of human form who has magical powers, especially a female one

[Informal; extremely offensive] Contemptuous slang for feminine-like male homosexual

A medium yellow-green color

A boat or ship for conveying passengers and goods, especially over a relatively short distance and as a regular service

  • A commercial service for conveying passengers or goods by boat or ship
    • A service for the delivery of airplanes to an overseas purchaser or base of operations
  • The place from which a ferry service operates
  • A service using another mode of transportation to convey passengers and goods, especially aircraft

Such a service

A legal right to charge for transporting passengers by boat

Verb, intransitive:
To go in a ferry

Verb, transitive:
Convey in a ferry or other ship or boat, especially across a short stretch of water

  • Transport from one place to another on short or regular trips
Ye canna use fairy gold.

She must be using fairy magic.

Yes, Cinderella, I am your fairy godmother.

Mama, I saw a fairy!

Stories that include fairies are within the fantasy genre.

Gads, he’s such a fairy.

Did you ever see such a fairy?

Ach, that one. She’s away with the fairies, she is.

It was a lovely fairy green she used in the bedroom.

We’ll have to hustle to catch the last ferry.

Using the ferry is such a quick way to cross the Channel and keep one’s car.

Commuters between Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx have the option of using the ferry to get into Manhattan.

Charon is the ferryman in Greek mythology who ferries the dead over the river to their fate.

Verb, intransitive:
We were ferried over.

Verb, transitive:
Riverboats ferried weekend picnickers to the park.

Helicopters ferried 4,000 men into the desert.

In Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, dragons were used to ferry army troops into battle.

Adjective: fairylike
Noun: fae, fairyland, fay
Adjective: unferried
Noun: ferryboat, ferryman, ferrymen
History of the Word:
Middle English and denoting fairyland or fairies collectively and from the Old French faerie, which is from fae meaning a fairy, from the Latin fata (meaning the Fates), which is the plural of fatum. Middle English from the Old Norse ferja meaning ferryboat is of Germanic origin and related to fare.

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:

The Butterfly Ferry” (a fairy on a butterfly postcard used in 1938) is part of Ida Outhwaite’s Elves Fairies Series 72 and is available (as of 22 June 2017) on eBay through Potlatch Traders.