Easily Confused Words: Prioleau vs. Pirlou

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.

Prioleau (pray-lew) is a noun. It’s a man’s name, it’s French. It came to the US from Elias Prioleau a Huguenot (French Protestant) minister, who immigrated in the 1600s.

Pirlou is a noun. It’s a rice and broth based dish showcasing a blend of meats and vegetables. It’s also spelled pirloo, perlou, perlew, or pilau. Pirlou dishes are related to gumbos and jambalayas. Spanish paella is not that different. It’s using what’s on hand to make a dish that works beautifully together.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Pyotr was about to wrap his third year at Johnson & Wales. For his final exam in Grains class, he presented a borscht pirlou to the hard to impress instructor, Chef Prioleau Villeponteaux.


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