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!

 

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