Easily Confused Words: Sleet vs. Sleight

Sleet and sleight 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.

Sleet (pronounced “sl-ee-t”) is a noun. It means wet, very slushy snow.

Sleight (pronounced “sl-eye-t”) is a noun. It means a slim, small, narrow chance of an event happening.

The following story uses both words correctly:

This morning, there was an 80% of sleet. Sylvester knew there was a sleight chance of his outdoor run happening this morning; it just wasn’t safe to run in icy conditions. He headed to the gym. Winter sure sucks, he thought, I can’t wait for it to be over. That groundhog better stay above ground this year.

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