Easily Confused Words: Twist vs. Tryst

Twist and Tryst 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.

Twist (pronounced “twuh-isst”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a proper noun, it means a 1960s dance.
  • As a verb, it means turning in opposite directions.
  • As a noun, it means to turn in an unexpected direction. This meaning is used to describe stories, films, and movies.
  • As a noun, it means something has a literal or figurative inverted cone shape.

Tryst (pronounced “truh-eye-st”) is a noun. It means an affair, or other high drama relationship.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Tyler was hired to write a biography of a high-profile politician. He was honored and flattered, and he knew this could change his career forever. In researching the book, he ran into a real life plot twist: he uncovered a 20 year tryst between his subject and that subject’s ex-wife’s cousin.

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