Word Confusion: Might versus Mite

Posted January 8, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

It’s those heterograhs…they’ll getcha in trouble every time.

In this case, “You’re just a might on the short side” is tellin’ me that the person may be short, but they’re mighty strong. Of course, in this author’s case, “you’re just a mite on the short side” was what was intended, per the context of the paragraph.

You may want to explore other posts involving might: “Might’a not be a Could’a, Would’a, Should’a” and/or “May versus Might“.

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.

If you found this post on “Might versus Mite” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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Might Mite
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

A full-height poster of a big-muscled man wearing a leopard one-shouldered tunic and black boots and holding up a flexing black barbell

“Me, Behind Strong Man Photo Face Cutout” by Patrick Feller under the CC BY 2.0 license, via VisualHunt

With all his might, he lifted the weighty weight.


An orange-textured oblong outlined in white petal-like scales has a multitude of antennas thrusting out from the top of it as it perches in a rocky-looking cleft of textile

“Peacock Mite, Tuckerella sp” by Christopher Pooley, USDA-ARS, is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of Grammar:
Noun;
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Person Past Singular and Plural Modal Verb 3

Present tense: may

Adverb 2; Noun 1, 2
Noun:
Great and impressive power or strength, especially of a nation, large organization, or natural force

  • Physical strength

Verb, modal:
As the past tense of may, it is especially used:

  • In reported speech, expressing possibility or permission
  • Expressing a possibility based on a condition not fulfilled
  • Expressing annoyance about something that someone has not done
  • Expressing purpose

Used in questions and requests

  • Tentatively asking permission
  • Expressing a polite request
  • Asking for information, especially condescendingly

Used to express possibility or make a suggestion

Adverb:
A little

  • Slightly

Noun:
A minute arachnid, subclass Acari, which has four pairs of legs when adult, is related to the ticks 1

A small child or animal, especially when regarded as an object of sympathy 2

A very small amount

  • [Historical] A small coin, in particular a small Flemish copper coin of very low face value

A contribution that is small but all that a person can afford

Examples:
Noun:
It was a convincing display of military might.

“Might is right” is a poor philosophy to embrace.

He lifted with all his might.

With might and main, we shall overcome our enemy.

Verb, modal:
You might just as well get it over with.

Ah, geez, I might have known you did it.

They said he might be late.

We might have won if we’d played better.

You might have told me!

She avoided social engagements so that she might work.

Might I ask one question?

You might just call me Jane, if you don’t mind.

And who might you be?

This might be true.

You might try melatonin to help you sleep.

Adverb:
All evening he’s seemed a mite awkward.

“Not the greatest tragedy in the world, perhaps, but a mite sad.”, Alice Guilhamon and Christopher Dickey, “U.S. Wants Freedom from ‘Filthy’ French Cheese“, The Daily Beast, 20 July 2013

“OPEC meets in Vienna on Friday, a meeting that will, according to the Wall Street Journal, be a mite testy.”, Megan McArdle, “Fracking is Pitting OPEC Members Against Each Other. It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Bunch of Cartel Members“, The Daily Beast, 29 May 2013

“Predicting Palestinian genocide of Jews under a one-state solution is a mite farfetched, I would submit.”, Mira Sucharov, “Accusing Each Other Of Genocide“, The Daily Beast, 5 March 2013

Noun:
Many kinds of mites live in the soil and a number are parasitic on plants or animals.

Mites are significant as carriers of serious diseases.

Scabies, also known as the seven-year itch, is a contagious skin infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei.

Ticks and spiders are more closely related than ticks and mites.

Dust mites are a household plague.

Mites feed on plants, animals, decaying matter, and stored foods.

The poor little mite looks half-starved.

His teacher thought he needed a mite of discipline.

It is not worth a mite.

A Flemish mite was worth one-third of a penny.

It’s but a widow’s mite.

Derivatives:
Adjective: mightier, mightiest, mightless, mighty
Adverb: mightily
Contraction: mightn’t, might’ve
Noun: might-have-been, mightiness
History of the Word:
Old English miht or mieht is of Germanic origin. 1 Old English mīte is of Germanic origin.

2 Late Middle English, c. 1350, denoting a small Flemish copper coin, and from the Middle Dutch mīte; probably from the same Germanic word as 1.

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:

David and Goliath by Waldryano is under the CC-BY 1.0 license, via Pixabay.

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