Easily Confused Words: Deprecate vs. Depreciate

Deprecate and depreciate 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.

Deprecate (pronounced “dep-ruh-kate” ) is a verb. It means to express discontent or disapproval of, to demean, to belittle. In pop language, “throwing shade” is a way of deprecating someone.

Depreciate (pronounced “dee-prish-ee-ate”) is a verb. It means to decrease the value of a piece of property. It can also mean the value of a piece of property losing value.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Daphne bought the best car she could afford, brand new. It depreciated $3000 right off the lot, which was expected. But she was enraged when it turned out to be a lemon. She joined a disgruntled Yeah cars owners messageboard, and deprecated their brand publicly every chance she got. 

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