Easily Confused Words: Trophy vs. Toffee

Trophy and toffee 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.

Trophy is a noun. A trophy is typically a small statuette dipped in gold and mounted on a stone rectangle. It’s given to people who win at sports, quiz contests, speech contests, or theater.

In a figurative or metaphorical sense, a trophy is a something won or achieved, a sign of accomplishment.

  • A trophy hunter seeks to kill the biggest, strongest, fiercest animals as an indications of their skill and prowess as a hunter. They take pictures with their kills, and take the bodies home for taxidermy. in recent years, trophy hunters have often been shamed on social media.
  • A trophy wife or trophy spouse is a slang, pop culture term. It means an extremely attractive spouse someone marries as an indicator of their own wealth and status.

Toffee is a noun. It describes two different kinds of molasses-based candy:

  • Toffee is another way of saying taffy. It’s a gooey, chewy candy that comes in many fruity flavors. This candy is wrapped in wax paper to maintain softness. Historically, taffy/toffee has been sold in beach towns of the US.
  • Toffee is a hard candy with a caramel flavor and deep brown color. It is very crunchy, like peanut brittle or butterscotch.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Tiffany won awards for basketball and speech and debate last year. She was more excited about getting the swag than the trophys. Her prize package included boxes of toffee candy from a local confectioners. Yum!


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