Writing for Business

May 16 2012   12:47PM GMT

Hardy or hearty?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Rugged IT devices are designed to be _____ enough to withstand extreme environmental conditions and rough handling.
a. hardy
b. hearty

Answer: a


Hardy means tough or rugged; hearty means vigorous, intense or whole-hearted.

The words aren’t unrelated. You could use a word like robust, for example, as a synonym for either one. However, hearty usually refers to human attributes, like a hearty appetite. Both devices and appetites can be robust. Devices, on the other hand, can be hardy but they can’t be hearty.

Althouse explores the important question of whether you should party hearty or party hardy. (Why not both?)

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