The words peek, peak, and pique are homonyms that are often mistaken for one another. Here’s a quick reminder of these words’ meanings and how to use them correctly.
Peek can be a verb meaning to look quickly or a noun meaning a quick look.
- I peeked through Christine’s office window and saw her meeting with the head of EU operations.
- HR will give us a sneak peek of the updated payroll software this week.
Peak can be a verb meaning to summit or a noun meaning the highest point.
- This year’s flu season has reached its peak, so all employees are encouraged to wash hands frequently and stay home if feeling ill.
- We’ve worked hard to achieve the peak demand we’re seeing now.
Pique is most frequently used as a verb, meaning to stimulate or excite. The most common phrase is “to pique your interest.” This word, however, has a few other meanings, including to wound and to affect negatively.
- The lecture piqued my interest, so I decided to enroll in a full course.
Here are a few examples of common mistakes:
- Did the book peak your interest on the topic? (Correct verb: pique)
- We’re so happy to offer you a sneak peak of the new program. (Correct verb: peek)
Are there any words or phrases that sometimes cause confusion? Let us know in the comments below!