Easily Confused Words: Muay Thai and Mai Thai

Muay thai and mai tai are easily confused terms. Instead of being English words that have gone global, these words came to English from other languages.

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.

Muay thai (pronounced “m-oy  tie”) is the national sport of Thailand. It uses elbows, shin kicks, knees, and punches. Muay Thai is one of several martial arts taught at Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, schools.

Mai tai (“m-eye  tie”) is a noun, it comes from the Tahitian word for “good.” It means a cocktail made of light and dark rums, lime juice, orange curacao, and an orange syrup.   It is garnished with lime and pineapple.

The following story uses both words correctly:

After an intense weekend of training in muay thai and judo, Mukasa rewarded himself with a cool mai tai and a plateful of shrimp, lobster, and steamed vegetables over noodles.


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