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Peek, Peak, and Pique

If you must peek at your presents, describe it properly.

By
Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read
A kitten peeking around a corner (not a peak or a pique)

 

Peeking is looking when you shouldn’t. It's what you do when you peer at hidden presents.

Oh, I wasn't a perfect gentleman, I might have snuck a peek. — James Denton playing Mike Delfino in the TV show "Desperate Housewives"

A peak is a real or metaphorical high point or pinnacle.

Hey, well, as far as I'm concerned, progress peaked with frozen pizza. -- Bruce Willis playing John McClane in the movie "Die Hard 2"

Pique, from a French word meaning “prick,” means to excite. You want to excite people’s interest.

Nothing piques my interest more than repeated failure. — Richard Dean Anderson playing Jack O’Neill in the TV show "Stargate SG-1"

Quick and Dirty Tip: Think of the two E's in "peek" as two eyes peeking.

Reader "GreenCaret" also suggested the tip "Visualize the A in 'peak' as a capital A, which looks a good bit like a mountain peak — to reinforce its definition as a 'metaphorical high point.'"

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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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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