Nave and navy 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.
Nave (pronounced “nayv;” rhymes with brave, save, cave) is a noun. It is an architecture and interior design term for Christian church buildings (especially Catholic, Anglican and Episcopal denominations.) The nave is the center aisle and the main seating area of the church, it connects the narthex (entryway/foyer) to the sanctuary (the area where the clergy conduct the ceremony, where the altar is, etc.)
Navy (pronounced “nay-vee;” rhymes with wavy) is a noun with multiple meanings.
- It can mean a deep blue-green or deep blue-purple color. Both shades are meant to resemble a stormy ocean, or the night sky, with their rich tone.
- It can mean a branch of the military concerned with a country’s defense on the ocean. Historically, they have used technology like battleships, aircraft carriers, submarines to fulfill their duties, but computers, IT, and satellites are also in their arsenal. The US Navy was founded in Philadelphia in 1775, while the British Navy was founded in 1546.
The following story uses both words correctly:
Much to everyone’s surprise, heiress Nanette Pendergrass failed to show up for her high-profile wedding with Thomas Needles, a banking tycoon. The family sat for an hour in the nave waiting for her to appear. The chaffeur helped her leave the family estate the afternoon before, reporting for boot camp in the WAVES. Nanette had enlisted in the Navy in the hopes of seeing the world and finally being herself, not an heiress, not a bankers wife, just herself.