Onto today’s episode!
These three words have their roots in Latin, have traveled through Late Middle English and French. The 2nd and 3rd are more closely related of the three words, they have a common Latin root meaning spade or shovel. Yes, we know, sometimes the route a word travels from one meaning to another is obscure.
Palate is a noun and has two primary meanings in Modern English. First is medical, it means the roof of the mouth that separates the oral cavity from the nasal cavities. Second is an appreciation of differing taste and flavors, usually in a sophisticated and discriminating fashion. Connoisseurs and Foodies sometimes use these words in their descriptions. It is easy to see how these two related definitions came to be, since they have to do with taste and smell.
Palette is a noun that finds use in the fine arts. It refers to a thin board or slab of hard material a painter uses to hold and mix small amounts of colors while painting.
During his open-studio, the artist walks up to a person admiring a particular painting and says, “If you like these colors you can take them home for free because you sat on my palette.”
This term can also include the range and variety of sounds in a musical composition.
Pallet is another noun that first means a crude bed covered with straw or a mattress made of straw. This is not quite modern for most of us, because it seems to predate the inner spring mattress. Secondly, the definition that many of us might be more familiar with is a portable platform for storing and moving goods with the aid of a forklift or pallet jack.
Three words with identical sound and very different meanings. By choosing the wrong word for your context your reader is quite likely to stumble in their reading and maybe even close the book. Do not let that happen, do all in your power to ensure your millions of readers a smooth ride to the end.
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Remember: Words Have Meaning and Spelling Makes a Difference.