Commonly Confused Words: Board vs. Bored

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What does each word mean?

The word board is used to describe a committee with supervisory powers or a long thin piece of wood (or other hard material) used for various purposes. The word is also sometimes used to describe a vertical surface which is used to display information on. 

If you board something, it means you get on it. If you board somewhere, it means you stay there

Here is board used in some example sentences:

  • The board decided to terminate the project.
  • The floor was made from interlocking boards
  • The cheese was served on a board
  • Can you see the board from the back of the classroom? 
  • We will board the ferry at midday. 
  • I boarded at school over the holidays.

If you are bored, it means you are uninterested in or tired of something. 

Here is bored used in some example sentences:

  • I’m bored of this book. 
  • I’m bored of doing the same thing every day.

Where does each word come from?

Board comes from the Old English ‘bord’ which means ‘plank’, ‘flat surface’, or ‘table’. The word comes from the Proto-Germanic ‘burdam’. 

The committee meaning of the word comes from the idea of a council meeting around a table to discuss important matters

Another definition of ‘bord’ is ‘side of a ship’ or ‘border’, which is where the idea of boarding a vehicle comes from. 

Bored has been used since 1823. The verb ‘to bore’ dates to 1768 and comes from the idea of being slow and consistent like the tool used to bore holes. 

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between board and bored?

  • Think of the phrase all aboard to help you remember that board is spelt with an a
  • The word bored has the word red at the end of it. Can you think of something red that you are bored by ? 

You can find a list of all our Commonly Confused Words blog posts here.

15 Jul 2021
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