Easily Confused Words: Apoplectic vs. Apologetic

Apoplectic and Apologetic 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 suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Apoplectic is an adjective that describes a relationship to apoplexy, or a stroke. Apoplectic symptoms would be sharp pain in one arm or slurred speech. An apoplectic rage would be a person feeling an intense anger that could give them a stroke.

Apologetic is an adjective, describes feelings of regret or the acknowledgement of wrongdoing by a guilty party. The guilty party typically makes gestures, like acknowledging wrongdoing in print, offering money, or other efforts to correct their mistake.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Apollo wasn’t sure what to tell his client, a CEO whose secretary erroneously notified hundreds of workers they only had a week to find another job. This caused many victims heartache, while others to experience apoplectic symptoms. The CEO was apologetic and admitted the mistake publicly, but it wasn’t enough. Lawsuits were lining up already. It was plausible that the layoffs were related to millions of dollars in mishandled corporate funds.


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