Waver vs. waiver

Here’s a word I never fail to stumble over: waver. As in the recent Yahoo News Headline “Apple wavers as court Reverses Ban on Samsung Smartphone.”

Every time I see “waver” in print, I experience one brief moment of thinking it should be “waiver.” And vice-versa: anytime I see “waiver” I think it should be “waver.” It only takes me a split second to realize I’m wrong. But it’s still a little unnerving to have my mental defaults exactly backward.

For the record, here, per Merriam Webster, is the difference.

waver: verb. to vacillate irresolutely between choices; fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction

waiver: noun. the act of intentionally relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim, or privilege; also : the legal instrument evidencing such an act.

More simply, to waver is to change your mind. A waiver is a legal relinquishment or exemption.

Tags: , ,