Aid and Aide

These homophones even have similar meanings

aid and aide
A home-care aide should know basic first aid. (Science Photo Library/Getty Images)

The words aid and aide are homophones: they sound alike but have different (though related) meanings. These two words are among the most frequently confused homophones

The verb aid means to assist: to provide what is needed to achieve a goal. The noun aid refers to a person, organization, or thing that provides assistance.

An aide (from the phrase aide-de-camp) is a person who acts as a helper or an assistant.

And don't confuse these two words with the acronym for acquired immune deficiency syndrome: AIDS. There's no relationship to either aid or aide.

Examples of Aid and Aide

  • The United Nations appealed for donations to aid flood victims in Pakistan.
  • The United Nations called for nearly $500 million in aid for flood-ravaged Pakistan.
  • "Her hair was sleekly swept back; he saw that the socket of her dainty ear was filled by a flesh-colored hearing aid. But her voice had kept its rich timbre."
    (John Updike, "The Road Home." My Father's Tears and Other Stories. Knopf, 2009)
  • "A monastery was a place where, in a threatening world, the prayers of the monks could guarantee aid and comfort to those who merited it."
    (William M. Johnston et al., Encyclopedia of Monasticism. Routledge, 2015)  
  • The retired general arrived on the arm of an aide who steadied him as he walked into the national assembly.

Idiom Alert for Aid and Aide

"The legal expression 'aid and abet' means to help or encourage someone to commit a crime or other misdeed." (Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage, 2011).

"They were convicted of conspiracy to aid and abet the production of cannabis, but their convictions were quashed on appeal."
(Jacqueline Martin and Tony Storey, Unlocking Criminal Law, 2013)

Practice Exercises for Aid and Aide

(a) An _____ to the majority leader said the legislation would come to the Senate floor by the end of the week.

(b) A secretary was hired to _____ the transition team.

(c) Rain was forecast to continue through the week, slowing _____ and rescue efforts.

Answers to Practice Exercises: Aid and Aide

(a) An aide to the majority leader said the legislation would come to the Senate floor by the end of the week.

(b) A secretary was hired to aid the transition team.

(c) Rain was forecast to continue through the week, slowing aid and rescue efforts.

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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Aid and Aide." ThoughtCo, Jul. 11, 2017, Nordquist, Richard. (2017, July 11). Aid and Aide. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Aid and Aide." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 27, 2018).