Easily Confused Words: Sheik vs. Chic

Sheik and chic 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.

Sheik is a noun. It’s an Arabic word. It is pronounced “shayk” or “sheek.” In Islamic countries, it means a tribal leader or chief.

Chic is an adjective. It has French-Germanic roots. It looks like “chick,” but it is pronounced “sheek.” It describes something showing style, class, beauty, or all of the above. Chic is a word used in fashion journalism.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Qamash was the son of Sheik. He was studying overseas at FIT NY. He was making his mark by blending tribal clothing with Western nuances. He was gaining the nickname, “King of global chic.” 

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