Easily Confused Words: Curio vs. Curious

Curio and curious 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.

Curio is a noun. It means a piece of furniture enclosed in glass that stores collectibles. Often, these collectibles are fragile, possibly one of a kind, and expensive. They are meant to be looked at, not touched.

Curious is an adjective.

  • It can mean a keen interest in the unknown, undiscovered, and mysterious. Put another way, a person having the urge to always want to know more, and how things work.
  • It can also mean a synonym for something odd, mysterious, or provoking curiosity.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Curig had a curio cabinet full of action figures and salt and pepper shakers from exotic locales. When he visited other people’s houses, he was curious what lay beyond the parlor. If he was left unattended, he would snoop around.

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