Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Amorous vs. Amortization

Amorous and amortization 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.

Amorous (pronounced “am-uh-ruhss”) is an adjective. It means feeling in love; it can also mean feeling aroused for sexual activity.

  • In the jazz standard “S’Wonderful,” used for the movie Funny Face  (1957), the lyrics say, “You’ve made my life so glamorous, you can’t blame me for feeling amorous.” 
  • Amor means “love” and eroticism in Latin.

Amortization (pronounced “uh-mohrr-tihz-A-shun”) is a finance and accounting word.

  • As a noun, It means paying a debt in equal installments. If you borrowed money to go to college, buy a house, or buy a car, at first your payments will pay mostly interest and a little principal. Gradually your payments will be paying more and more of the principal until the debt is paid in full.
  • As an adjective, it modifies items related to the debt repayment process. For example, an amortization schedule lays out how the payments will be attributed to principal and interest over the life of the loan. Check out this link at bankrate.com. In the default example, the loan is for $165,000, with a 4.5% interest rate of 30 years. At a monthly payment rate of $836.03, the debt will be paid in 2049.  If you are thinking about getting a loan, you can enter your own debt amount, the interest rate, and the length of the loan (15, 30, years, etc.) and click “calculate,” you get an amortization schedule, an estimated payoff date, and estimated payment amount. Amortization schedules are a great tool to see the life of the loan laid out on paper.
  • The related verb, “amortize,” means to eliminate or liquidate. Part of this word, “mort” means death in Latin. Other “mort” words include mortuary, mortality, mortgage, mortal, and immortal.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Amos was being interviewed for a local community profile piece by the local news.

“So where do you think people get in trouble with money, get in over their head?”

“Not knowing their budget. People can buy with their eyes or their heart instead of their head, and that just causes headaches later. There’s a lot of convenient tools on the web, like amortization schedules, that can forecast what different loans would look like. Before you even shop for a car or house, know what your limits are. Don’t look at something way over budget. It’s tempting to accept it, and if you don’t you’ll be disappointed by everything you look at afterward that you can actually afford.”

“Is it true that you’re passionate, some would say amorous, about accounting?” 

Amos stifled a laugh. “It’s very intriguing. I’ll just say my interest never depreciates.” 


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