Writing for Business

Jun 22 2009   2:29PM GMT

Which is correct — pique or peak or peek?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?
The proliferation of smartphones has _____ interest in voice-to-text applications.
a. peaked
b. piqued
c. peeked

Answer: b.

To pique is to stimulate or sharpen. (It’s a French word meaning to prick.)

Peaked means increased to the highest possible level, like the peak of a mountain. That doesn’t work in this context. Interest could peak before falling off to a lower level again. However, it couldn’t BE peaked by something.

I think this is where the confusion comes in on this one. People hear of something peaking — a stock price, for example — and think this is the same word. Nope.

Peek means to take a quick look at something.

Here’s further discussion of this and other commonly misused words and phrases.

Here’s a snapshot of use and misuse online as of June 22, 2009:
Google search score:
Pique my interest: 3,250,000
Peak my interest: 2,110,000
Peek my interest: 298,000

That’s worse than the situation Robert Mack documented in 2007.

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