Easily Confused Words: Van Gogh’s Palette and Palate

AUGUST 14, 2012

Among his idiosyncrasies, Van Gogh sampled his paint palette with his palate before applying it to the canvas. 

Today’s twit is a rare non-fiction tale. Van Gogh did taste the paint off his palette with his palate. 

These two words, palette and palate, are homophones: they are said identically, but mean different things. A palette is a flat piece of wood or plastic a painter uses to hold dollops of paint colors. The palate, meanwhile, is a part of human anatomy. Specifically, it is the roof of the mouth, encircled by the upper row of teeth.

‘Just to make things a little more complicated, there’s also “pallet”. It is also pronounced the same as the first two words I described. Pallet means “bed”, but in modern times, it refers to a simple wood frame used to hold major shipments of manufactured goods in a warehouse. The pallet is closed at 2 sides for support, and open at its other two sides. A forklift can easily slide its prongs in one of the open sides, lift the pallet. The pallet frame allows the forklift to support the full weight evenly, and transport it around a warehouse or other storage facility without causing damage.

I could go into lead the noun, lead the verb, led the verb, but those are homophones for another time.

POST ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 8/14/2012 at 18:34pm.




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