Commonly Confused Words: Click vs. Clique

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What does each word mean?

A click is a short sharp sound, usually made by operating a switch or pushing a button. As a verb, the word is used to describe the act of making a short sharp sound. Occasionally, click is also used to describe the act of instantly getting on with someone.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is click used in some example sentences:

  • He clicked the mouse twice to open the menu.
  • She clicked on the link to access her spelling list. -
  • The door clicked shut.
  • The couple clicked on their first date.

A clique is a small and exclusive group of people.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is clique used in an example sentence:

  • The school playground was divided into cliques

Where does each word come from?

The word click has been used as a verb since the 1580s and a noun since the 1610s and comes from the Old French 'clique' meaning 'tick of a clock'. Click has been used figuratively to mean 'hit it off' since 1915.

Clique dates to 1711 and also comes from the Old French 'clique'. The modern meaning of the word is related to the French 'claque' which means 'band of followers'.

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between click and clique?

Click and clique only sound the same in some accents. Try saying clique with a long i sound like in the word boutique or the word antique. This might help you remember the spelling pattern.

You might find it useful to put each word in a sentence as a rhyming word with the same spelling pattern. For example:

  • Her chopsticks clicked as she ate quickly.
  • The Antique Appreciation Society were known for being a bit of a clique.


What words do you constantly mix up? Let us know and we’ll cover them in our Commonly Confused Words series.

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary.

27 Mar 2019
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