Faze vs. Phase

By Maeve Maddox

The verb faze, “to disturb,” is often misspelled as phase.

Here are some recent examples of the error, with corrections:

INCORRECT: She did not appear phased by recent reports that skinny jeans had cut off one woman’s circulation. —New York Times.
CORRECT : She did not appear fazed by recent reports that skinny jeans had cut off one woman’s circulation.

INCORRECT: I’m focused on the good things in life. I’m blessed and not forgetting it. I’m giving back every day for it. Can’t phase me. —Justin Bieber tweet.
CORRECT : I’m focused on the good things in life. I’m blessed and not forgetting it. I’m giving back every day for it. Can’t faze me.

INCORRECT: As a coach, he’s a warrior. There is nothing that can phase him.
—Princeton Tiger site.
CORRECT : As a coach, he’s a warrior. There is nothing that can faze him.

INCORRECT: ‘Easy going’: Rangers fan Gary Geddes has been left unphased by the accident he had on his way home from a match. —Daily Mail.
CORRECT : ‘Easy going’: Rangers fan Gary Geddes has been left unfazed by the accident he had on his way home from a match.

INCORRECT: Humphrey, a 6´7″, 275-pound Ugandan colleague sits to my left, unphased by the sun pouring down on him.—International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education site.
CORRECT : Humphrey, a 6´7″, 275-pound Ugandan colleague sits to my left, unfazed by the sun pouring down on him.

INCORRECT: you’ve got an SUV that will be left unphased by Mother Nature.
—Ford Explorer advertisement.
CORRECT : you’ve got an SUV that will be left unfazed by Mother Nature.

The verb faze originated as US slang. The earliest citation is from 1830:

“They were too well up to these things to be fazed by a little cold lead.”

The word may be a variant of Kentish dialect feeze, “to fright, discomfit.”

The verb phase, on the other hand, means, “to carry out by phases” or “to introduce in stages.” Here are examples:

“Starting later this month, Apple is introducing changes to its bagging policy, phasing out plastic bags in favor of a more environmentally friendly paper option. 

The IRS announced plans to phase in the requirements of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

Disney May Be Phasing out Slave Leia Merchandise

NOTE: The words phased and unphased occur in the context of gene study:

“Phased data” are ordered along one chromosome and so from these data you know the haplotype. “Unphased data” are simply the genotypes without regard to which one of the pair of chromosomes holds that allele.

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4 Responses to “Faze vs. Phase”

  • Thebluebird11

    Yes, the confusion between these 2 words is a peeve of mine. I don’t know why people confuse them, unless they think that “faze” is a slang spelling for “phase” (like tho and though), and try to hypercorrect.

  • Dale A. Wood

    Maeve, this is a very good article about a misuse of misspelling that ought to stick out like a sore thumb.
    Very bad: That child is just going through a naughty faze.
    Corrected: That child is just point through a naughty phase.

    In the technical language of electrical engineering and physics:
    “Those AEGIS ships have several phased-array antennas.”
    “The phase of a wave is a very important concept in optics, electromagnetism, acoustics, and electronics.”
    D.A.W.

  • venqax

    Bluebird: I’ll bet you are correct in your guess that a lot of people think faze is simply a text-ish misspelling. Just now, typing this message, faze got redlined by grammar check, “Possibly confused word. Did you mean phase? Things like that don’t help the problem.

  • Dale A. Wood

    @Venqax:
    I agree with you 100%: incorrect and misleading suggestions / corrections by grammar checkers and spellcheckers do not help the problem one bit.
    To top it off, there is the fact that many people treat those suggestions / corrections came from the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or the writings of Confucius. They don’t realize that the computer programs leave a lot to be desired. For example, there was one that insisted that “gauge” was a misspelled word, and it “wanted” to replace it with “gage”. Nowadays, so many people do not know anything about the air gauge, the gas gauge, the blood pressure gauge, the power gauge, or the water gauge.
    As for the grammar checkers, I haven’t come across one yet that was not worse than useless. So, I always turn them off.
    D.A.W.

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