Easily Confused Words: Cymbal vs. Symbol

Cymbal and Symbol are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Cymbal is a noun. It means a concave brass disc musical instrument. Two single cymbals are part of a standard drum kit, usually placed on either side of the drummer for when they need to play a “crashing” sound. Cymbals are played with mallets for softer jazz type music. In pairs, cymbals are clashed together for marches like Sousa’s “Stars & Stripes Forever.”

Symbol is noun. It means a creature or object used in place of another in a story, usually to add meaning or significance to their situations.

Graphically speaking, symbols are also used on signage or in emoji. The idea is to use pictures to get ideas across faster than written words.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Emojis are a convenient symbol language to get your ideas across in a text message . Much the chagrin of drummers and jokesters everywhere, there is cymbal emoji at this time.