Easily Confused Words: Samosas vs. Samoas

Samosas and Samoa 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.

Samosas (pronounced “suh-moh-suhz”; rhymes with mimosas) are a plural noun. They means a Indian snack or appetizer food. Samosas are a fried phyllo-dough wrapped turnovers stuffed with spices, and meat or vegetables.

Samoas (pronounced “suh-moh-uhz”; rhymes with boas, moas, Noahs) are a plural proper noun. It’s a type of Girl Scout cookies. To make a samoa, a flat ring-shaped vanilla cookie is topped with caramel and toasted coconut flakes. Once this layer is dry, it’s drizzled in dark chocolate stripes. The opposite side, the bottom, is dipped in dark chocolate. Samoas are baked by Little Brownie Bakers and sold by US Girl Scouts for fundraising in colder months. [TRIVIA: Little Brownie Bakers is one of two GS cookie bakers, the other is ABC. The baker determines the cookie’s name. ABC bakes Caramel DeLites, their version of the Samoa.]

Samoa (no suffix “s”) is a island in the Pacific. A person from Samoa is a Samoan (pronounced “suh-moh-uhn”.)

The following story uses both words correctly:

Sam hadn’t expected to throw a gathering at the last minute. He scoured his freezer where he found last year’s Samoa cookies he bought from his niece, and lots of microwavable appetizers, including samosas, boneless wings, and fried mozzarella sticks. It would have to do. Maybe if people weren’t that impressed he wouldn’t be asked to host at the last minute again.


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