Easily Confused Words: Haste vs. Heist

Haste and heist 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.

Haste (pronounced “hayst”; rhymes with “paste”) has multiple forms.

  • As a noun, it means to act with quickness, swiftness, or speed. It can also mean trying to act with speed, but being sloppy and clumsy about it, as in the idiom “haste makes waste.”
  • As a verb, it means to hurry or be quick.

Heist (pronounced “highst”; sounds like feist) has multiple forms.

  • As a noun, it means a robbery, or a theft operation.
  • As a verb, it means to hold up, or steal from, an organization.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Hayden demanded haste from his partners as they narrowly escaped their latest heist. 



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