Easily Confused Words: Picadillo vs. Pecadilloes

Picadillo and Peccadilloes 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.

Picadillo (pronounced “peekah-dill-ohz”) is a noun. It means a dish made up of ground beef, raisins, tomatoes, onions, olives, and spices served in Latin American and Spanish cuisines.

Peccadillo (pronounced “peckah-dill-ohz”) is a noun. It means a something that is upsetting and a problem to one person, but generally speaking is something minor, or not a big deal. It might be a mistake or infraction, but it’s not a big one.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Pilar was running out of time before the weekend’s cooking contest. She meant to buy locally grown tomatoes for her picadillo, but had to work late and missed the farmers market. So she used regular organic ones from the grocery. She threw together her recipe and submitted it saturday morning at the contest just to get it over with. The utmost fresh taste was one of her peccadilloes. But the judges were really wowed with her dish and she won top prize.

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