Easily Confused Words: Conceded vs. Conceited

Conceded and conceited 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.

Conceded (pronounced “kon-see-dead”) is the past tense of the verb concede. It means to give in, to surrender, or to admit defeat to an opponent or competitor. When party candidates are being finalized for an election, the second and third place competitors often concede that they’ve lost and will no longer pursue the office.

Conceited (pronounced “kon-see-ted”) is the past tense of the adjective conceit. It describes someone who is full of ego and a sense of superiority compared to others. This attitude is revealed in many conversations and encounters with others.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Concobhar was accused of being conceited when he wouldn’t drop out of the student council race for class president. Lucinda won most of the votes in an early poll, but the election process was only in its second week. Concobhar, as a newer student, felt if he conceded the election now, that he was being a quitter before he even got started. He also felt student council could use fresh viewpoints and more diversity, and he offered both.


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