Easily Confused Words: Atrophy and Entropy

Atrophy and entropy 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.

Atrophy has multiple forms.

  • Atrophy the noun means the state of muscles that weakening from lack of use.
  • Atrophy the verb means the receding or weakening of muscles.

Entropy is a noun. It is a measure of the disorganization or disorder in a system.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Enid was convinced that society experienced more entropy the more each individual allowed their muscles to atrophy. She felt the brain and body were not just connected, but interdependent. Exercise of one benefitted the other. 

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