Make Your Editor Cry: Broach vs. Brooch

Make Your Editor Cry:  Broach vs. Brooch

To broach a subject is to bring it up. A brooch is a decorative pin. These words both come from a word root meaning “something pointy,” but the spelling brooch branched off as a word for the piece of jewelry.

Broach means to bring up or introduce a sensitive issue. If your best friend has severe phobia of spiders (arachnophobia), you might want to delicately broach the topic of your new pet tarantula. The word broach comes from a Middle English word for “pointed tool.” These days, it’s usually used as a verb meaning “to gently mention something” or “to bring up a difficult subject.”

Examples:

He’d dreaded broaching the topic with his teammates, but they were supportive.
Despite the hour, he called a meeting to openly broach the subject.

That fancy pin your Grandma used to wear on her blouse or lapel? It’s a brooch, held in place by a sharp needle clasp. Change that “a” to an “o” and you have brooch. This word is usually pronounced the same way as broach, but it an also rhyme with “pooch.” A brooch is a decorated pin, like a silver elephant brooch with ruby eyes.

Examples:

She wore a lace collar fastened with a cameo brooch.
Her ensemble included a blue ball gown with matching gloves and her jewelry included a large golden dove brooch.

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