Easily Confused Words: Stake vs. Steak

Stake vs. Steak are easily confused words and homophones. The spell-check application in word processing software wouldn’t catch a usage mistake of these two words. As long as it’s a word and its spelled correctly, spell-check keeps on scanning the document.

Stake is a noun. It refers to a carved piece of wood, metal used as a crude weapon or cutting tool. In vampire legend, one way to kill a vampire is driving a wooden stake through their chest cavity. Stakes are also a historic means of claiming property, like the sooners of Oklahoma. Stake can also mean tense conditions involving high risk, as in gambling or the stock market. There’s a catchphrase used in these situations: “the stakes are high” or “the stakes have never been higher.”

Steak is also a noun. It refers to a slice of meat or fish that’s cooked by grilling, broiling, or frying. The cheaper the cut of meat, the more tenderizing, slow cooking, or both is needed to make it easy to eat.

The following sentence uses one meaning of both words correctly:

When dining out, it’s not a good sign if a stake is needed to cut your steak.

 

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