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Faze or Phase?

Faze and phase sound the same but come from different roots. Don't be fazed if your teenager is going through a phase.

By
Mignon Fogarty

Janette B. asked me to explain the difference between faze and phase.

Faze is an Americanism that emerged in the 1820s as a variation of the word feeze, which I bet you've never heard. Feeze is an extremely old English word that meant "to beat away, frighten, or drive off"; similarly, faze means "to disturb, daunt, or worry."

  • The Hawaiian football team pretended to be unfazed when the Minnesota players warmed up shirtless in the snowstorm.

faze or phaseA phase, on the other hand, is most commonly a period or stage such as the phase of the moon, the latest leg-warmer phase that a fashion victim endures, or the first phase of a villain's evil plan.

Phase comes from the Latin word phasis, which means "to bring light or to show" (as in the way the moon or a star shows up in the sky or brings light).

Don't be fazed if your teenager is going through a phase.

Teenager in a Phase photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

 

101 Misused WordsGet more tips like this in 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again:

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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