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The words "price" and "prize" and "prise" are easily confused.

They mean different things*. It is not a difference of writing between US and British English.

Part of the confusion is that "price" and "prize" are almost the same in some contexts.

Both

We need to give some money to the winner. Let us give him that price.

and

We need to give some money to the winner. Let us give him that prize.

describe the same physical objects, actions and intentions. The "price" and the "prize" refer to the same object, but to different aspects of it.

  • The "price" and the "prize" are the same thing, some money.

  • The "price" and the "prize" are not the same thing, some money payed by us, and the same money received as award.

If that is not confusing enough: In German, it is even the same word: German "Preis" means either "price" or "prize" (and "Prise" means "pinch").

How comes the words are so similar and so different at the same time?

Is it that one term, a homonym, diverged into two separate terms?
Is it that two terms converged? Something else?


*

  • "price": money
  • "prize": award
  • "prise": open

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Aug 25 at 21:19

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