Easily Confused Words

Easily Confused Words: Wiring vs. Wring

Wiring and wring 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.

Wiring (pronounced “why-rihng”) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means the act of setting up electrical connections in a residence or in a device.
  • As a noun, it means the electrical connections that exist in a house or device.
  • As a noun, in a more figurative sense, it means how one person’s brain works versus another, or what aptitudes or skills one person has versus one or more other people.

Wring (pronounced “rihng”) is a verb. It means to twist and crush something to get the water out.

Typically humans wring out:

  • dripping wet laundry
  • a wet dish cleaning cloth or other cleaning cloth
  • dipping wet long hair on his/her head, either by twisting the hair itself, or twisting it in a towel.

Dogs wring themselves out by twisting their head and back to and fro, this force their loose skin to thrash the water droplets off their fur.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Wyrick wanted to check out the wiring in his cell phone that wasn’t working. The best lighting in their cramped apartment was in the kitchen so he was standing over the counter with a tiny screwdriver. Unfortunately his partner, Will, noticed the washer had stopped working and he was trying to wring out soaking wet clothes in the kitchen sink.

Wyrick said, “Could you do that in the bath? I need to fix my phone.”

“Oh sure man, sorry. We might need to go buy a washer later.”


This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Wring vs. Ring.


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