Easily Confused Words: Drupe vs. Dupe

Drupe and dupe 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.

Drupe (pronounced “droop”; rhymes with loop, coop) is a botany word. It classifies fruits known for having a single, woody-shelled seed in the center. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, mangoes, cherries, and olives are all drupes.

Dupe (pronounced doo-p; rhymes with loop, soup, coop) has multiple meanings.

  • As a verb, it means to fool or mislead someone.
  • As a noun, it can mean the person getting fooled or misled.
  • As a noun, it can be a slang shortened form of “duplicate ” (pronounced “doop-lih-kuht”), as in a copy, imitator, or similar product.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Doozer (nicknamed for his surname Duesenberg) was bored with his job at the supermarket. One of his favorite activities was pranking and frustrating the new employees. Once he duped a new teenage staffer, Dyuthi, into stocking and labeling the fruits–berries, drupes, aggregates, etc. different ways. Each time Dyuthi finished, he told her management had changed their mind and it had to be done all over again.

When the manager asked how she was liking her job, she asked, “I like it here. But why do they keep changing the fruit display?”

“What?! Doozer meet me in Produce…Now.”

 This post relates to another post: Easily Confused Words: Drupal vs. Drupe, Easily Confused Words: Droop vs. Dupe