Peak vs. Peek vs. Pique

by Heather

Lexical Vexations

Peak 1. n. summit, highest point. 2. v. to reach the extent of one’s abilities.

Peek 1. v. to look at quickly or sneakily. 2. n. a quick or surreptitious glance.

Pique n. annoyance or resentment.

Pique v. to arouse or excite esp. in response to challenge.

Words in the Wild: A peek told him they were nearing the peak of the mountain. He peeked again to be sure and, when he saw it was farther away than he’d first thought, a fit of pique came over him. They carried on and as he peaked out they topped the summit. They took a moment to survey the mountain range and watch the clouds eddy and clear by turns. An object in one of the clouds piqued his interest…what could it be this high up? he wondered. His heart suddenly sank ’til it was lying on the deepest valley’s floor—it was another, taller mountain.

Still vexed? You can find a complete list of the Word Blog’s lexical vexations here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather May 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Yeah, this pair is a lot like mischievous twins who trade seats when one isn’t looking. I’ve certainly seen them up to high jinks many a time.

nancy wellinger May 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Oh, I was just going to write about this. Got an email from an account executive asking me to take a peak at a web banner. I’m no mountain builder, but I’m willing to take a look.

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