Peak, peek, pique

I almost got that one wrong today in a mailing I am going to send out for one of my clients – yikes!

I asked the (rhetorical) question whether something had awoken the readers interest and upon rereading the text one last time it dawned on me that I choose the wrong homophone, the expression is “pique somebody’s interest”, not peak or peek.

Let’s go through them:

Pique is a French loan word and means prick in the sense of stimulate which is exactly what it means in that context “did we stimulate/pique your interest”.

Peek is a verb and means glance, have a look, peep.  It implies a short, furtive look, not some long examination of something.  This is an example: “the kids were standing on tippy-toes peeking into the window hoping to get a quick look of what’s going on inside.”

And lastly: peak – that is a noun meaning top, mountain, mountain-top, summit,”Look at all the snow covered peaks – isn’t it beautiful?”

It is also used as a verb meaning “to reach the highest point’:  “the Dow Jones peaked around noon and then started to slide on bad news from a major computer manufacturer.’

Finally, it is also an adjective meaning top, highest ultimate “to reach peak performance you have to train every day.”


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