Easily Confused Words: Jilt vs. Guilt

Jilt and guilt 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.

Jilt is a verb. It means to break a romantic relationship with another person, typically without explanation or forewarning.

Guilt is a noun. It means the emotion a person feels after they did something they know is wrong, and that they should make up for that somehow.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Jillian and Jorgé were two famous actors who dated for most of their 20s. It was a shock when Jillian jilted Jorgé to marry the much younger Günther. Even years later, Jorgé was still distraught in interviews, while Jillian never expressed guilt over what happened, or how she had handled it. 

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