December 08, 2007
pique (verb)
\PEEK\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to arouse anger or resentment in : irritate; especially : to offend by treating with disrespect2 : excite, arouse
How do you use it?
My brother's teasing and poking finally piqued me so much that I lost my temper and threw my math book at him.
Are you a word wiz?

The second sense of "pique" is often confused with the verbs "peak" (meaning "to come to the highest point") and "peek" (meaning "to take a quick look"). Only one of the sentences below uses "pique" correctly. Which one is it?

We hope that we've piqued your interest about the word "pique." Only sentence D uses it correctly. So, how do you remember the difference between "peek," "peak," and "pique"? It's easy enough to eliminate "peek" since it has a meaning that is so different from the other two. "Peak" and "pique" are harder to pull apart. Remember that "pique" means to arouse your interest or imagination in some way, and the correct "pique," like "interest" and "imagination" is spelled with an "i." "Pique" entered English in the mid-1600s, from a French word meaning "to prick."
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