Easily Confused Words: Waiter vs. Wader

Waiter and wader are easily confused words. The spell-check application in word-processing software wouldn’t necessarily catch a slip-up of these words, and autocorrect on a mobile phone could suggest the wrong one because they share the first two letters, “w-a.”

Waiter is a noun, it means a person who takes menu orders and brings customers food and beverages in a restaurant. These days, this role is called a “server” rather than a waiter or waitress.

Wader is also a noun. It means any creature that goes into the water to walk or to catch fish, whether that’s a person, or a bird (i.e., stork, heron, egret, spoonbill, flamingo, crane)

It also describes fishing clothing. Waders are a pair of very tall boots and waterproof overalls worn by fishermen. These fishermen go out into the water to fish, whether it’s knee-high or chest-high, but want to keep their feet and clothes dry in the process. In winter, a fisherman may wear waders to stay warm, and as a precautionary measure while ice fishing in case the ice breaks and he/she falls in.

The following sentence uses both words correctly:

Walter enjoyed working as a waiter and bartender at the diner Downtown, but his real passion was donning his waders and going fly-fishing in the Wapsipinicon. 

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