Veracity and verocity: why these words get confused

Today we are going to have some fun exploring the difference between veracity and voracity. These words if not heard correctly can be interchanged to disastrous effect.  The one has to do with truth, the other appetite. Or you could say, veracity concerns one’s appetite for truth, while voracity has to do with a desire to consume.

Getting down to it, Dictionary.com offers for veracity: noun 1. habitual observance of truth in speech or statement; truthfulness: He was not noted for his veracity. 2. conformity to truth or fact; accuracy: to question the veracity of his account. 3.correctness or accuracy, as of the senses or of a scientific instrument. 4. something veracious; a truth.

The word is said to originate from the 17th century from French véracité, from Medieval Latin veracitatem (nominative veracitas) “truthfulness,” from Latin verax (genitive veracis) “truthful,” from verus “true”, Dictionary.com explains.

Synonyms offered by Cambridge Dictionary include authenticity, fact, verity and verisimilitude.

The confusion around these words occurs because the word forms differ in how they are used in everyday language. Veracity, the noun, corresponds to the adjective veracious, but it is the noun that is in common use.

On the other hand, voracious, the adjective, is more frequently used than voracity, the noun.

Voracious means characterised by an insatiable appetite, or a predisposition to consume a massive amount of food. Voracity is the capacity to consume a lot of food.

But the word ‘voracious’ is not limited to food consumption. Someone can be a voracious reader, film watcher, or sport enthusiast – the word can be used to describe an action that someone performs with great gusto.

Vocabulary.com defines voracity as ‘extreme gluttony’ or ‘excessive desire to eat’ and offers edacity, esurience, rapaciousness, rapacity, voraciousness as synonyms. There’s also greed, gluttony, greediness, from Thesaurus.com

Your comments and feedback welcome.

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