Broach and Brooch

Commonly Confused Words

broach and brooch
A butterfly-shaped diamond and ruby brooch. (DEA/L.DOUGLAS/Getty Images)

The words broach and brooch are homophones: they're pronounced the same but have different meanings. 

Definitions

As a verb, broach means to pierce, break into, or open up. The verb broach also means to introduce (a topic) for discussion or make (something) known for the first time. As a noun, broach refers to a tapered cutting tool or a hole made by such a tool.

The noun brooch refers to an ornamental pin that's usually worn at the neck.

The two words are pronounced alike: brōch (rhymes with coach).
 

Examples

  • The best time to broach the topic of a raise is on a slow day at work.
     
  • The broach has a series of cutting teeth along the axis of the tool.
     
  • "Humphrey Pump plunged down again into the sunken nest, and began to broach the cask of rum in his own secret style, saying 'We can get something else somehow tomorrow. For tonight we can eat cheese and drink rum, especially as there's water on tap, so to speak.'"
    (G.K. Chesterton, The Flying Inn, 1914)
  • The princess wore a diamond brooch the size of a silver dollar.

 

Usage Notes

  • "A brooch, a decorative pin or clip, is nothing like a broach. But since they're often pronounced alike, and because ignorance never rests, some dictionaries accept broach as an alternative spelling of brooch."
    (Jane Straus, et al., The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, 11th ed. Jossey-Bass, 2014)
     
  • "If you broach something, you are suggesting that it is a valid topic for possible further discussion. If you wear a brooch on your dress, you hope that it will attract attention because of its beauty, and therefore, of course, attract attention to you who are wearing the brooch."
    (David Rothwell, Dictionary of Homonyms. Wordsworth, 2007 )


    Practice

    (a) Because Ms. Widmark said she was there on business, the lawyer felt he should _____ the matter of his fees.

    (b) Marie wore the emerald _____ that she had inherited from her grandmother.

    Answers to Practice Exercises

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words


    200 Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs

    Answers to Practice Exercises: Broach and Brooch

    (a) Because Ms. Widmark said she was there on business, the lawyer felt he should broach the matter of his fees.

    (b) Marie wore the emerald brooch that she had inherited from her grandmother.

     

    Glossary of Usage: Index of Commonly Confused Words

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    Your Citation
    Nordquist, Richard. "Broach and Brooch." ThoughtCo, May. 18, 2016, thoughtco.com/broach-and-brooch-1689327. Nordquist, Richard. (2016, May 18). Broach and Brooch. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/broach-and-brooch-1689327 Nordquist, Richard. "Broach and Brooch." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/broach-and-brooch-1689327 (accessed January 24, 2018).