Easily Confused Words: Despot vs. Deposit

Despot and deposit 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.

Despot (pronounced “deh-spoh”) is a noun. It means a leader with absolute power. This person might be a monarch, a military leader, or a dictator, but they all rule the same way.

Deposit (pronounced “dee-pause-it”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to leave a small portion of something into a bank account or other storage mechanism.
  • As a noun, it means a portion of a mineral, precious metal, or gem embedded in rock.
  • As a noun, it means a collection of material on a surface of an organism’s body part, for example, tartar deposits on teeth, or calcium deposits in blood vessels.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Delgado was reluctant to deposit any new paychecks at the bank.  Election Day was near. One aspiring candidate sounded far too much like someone with a despot’s ambitions. Before the election, Delgado withdrew his cash and closed his account. 

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