Easily Confused Words: Recuse vs. Rescue

Rescue and Recuse are easily confused words, swapping just a few letters around creates a whole new word. Spell-check in word processing applications and autocorrect would fail to catch a slip-up of these two words.

Rescue is a verb. It means to come to the aid of someone or something else in trouble. Rescue is also a noun , as in a lifeguard coming to the rescue of a drowning swimmer.

Recuse is a verb. It means to remove oneself from a decision, a team, or other position of power due to a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is any situation where a subject’s family, his/her former places of employment, his/her investments are making it hard to be unbiased in a new situation. For example, this new situation can be a legal case, an appointment to a charity or corporation’s board of directors, in short, it is some important, influential position.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Isolde had hoped her brother, Senator Isaac Stevensson, would come to her rescue, but his looming re-election campaign lead him to recuse himself from any involvement in her legal case.

This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Recluse vs. Recuse


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