Monday, June 1, 2009

Grammar Lesson


Tenet vs. Tenant

Tenant /´te-nәnt/, n., is sometimes confused with tenet /´te-nәt/, n., though the difference in meaning between the two words is substantial and clear. Tenet is derived from the last name of the former director of the CIA, George Tenet, who famously and mistakenly said that finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq would be a "slam dunk"; the word now refers to any similar gaffe involving inaccurate advice or unjustified confidence. A tenant is a renter of an apartment or house, not the mice or roaches that occupy the domicile, though the renter's furtive movements and preference for the dark may mimic the behaviors of his or her rodential and insectile cohabitants.