It happens to the best of us
We’ve all been there. Things we’ve been saying or thinking for years finally, and suddenly, are brought to our attention. Some words don’t actually mean the same thing, even if you’ve heard them used interchangeably.
Maybe you’re talking to a group of work friends when suddenly someone looks at you strangely. Or worse, maybe you’re on a first date and they correct you on the spot. False equivalencies, near-synonyms, and things you’ve been saying wrong this whole time can really come back to bite you.
Whatever the case may be, we know that assumptions about things being the same – which turn out to not be the same – happen when we least expect it. Words can be tricky, but these small, intricate differences are actually important to know.
Poisonous and venomous
“Venomous” applies to animals that bite or sting, injecting toxins. Anything that’s “poisonous” unloads toxins when you eat it, according to the Encyclopedia. So saying a snake is “poisonous” is almost always incorrect as the snake bite is what usually releases toxins. One exception is the garter snake which has a small or harmless bite but is toxic to eat, per the Encyclopedia.
Macaroons and macarons
One letter in spelling these sweet treats is a small difference between two almost completely different desserts. French “macarons” are meringue-based sandwich cookies with either ganache, jam, or buttercream filling. They are notoriously tricky to make, but macaroons aren’t. “Macaroons” have shredded coconut as the main ingredient and only take 30 minutes or less to make.