23rd October 2014
Word Choice: Faze vs. Phase
Although the words “faze” and “phase” sound the same, they have different meanings and spellings. Learn more about the usage of these terms so that you can use them with confidence in your academic writing.
Faze (Disturb or Unsettle)
The verb “faze” means “disturb” or “disconcert,” such as in the sentence:
The keynote speaker was fazed by the size of the audience.
More common than the term “faze” is the adjective “unfazed,” which refers to the state of being calm or undaunted by a challenge:
Unfazed by the high fences, the horse galloped to victory.
Phase (A Stage in a Process)
“Phase” is typically a noun meaning “a period or a stage of development within a sequence of events.” For example, one might talk of “phase one” in a new business plan.
It is sometimes used in a pejorative manner to describe behavior or actions that are likely to be temporary. One might thus dismiss a teenager’s “rebellious phase” or describe a midlife crisis as “just a phase.”
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The word “phase” can also be used as a verb. In this case, it means gradually changing something, such as in the terms “phasing in” and “phasing out.” In this context, it would be used in a sentence like this:
A new minimum size for farmed chickens will be phased in next year.
Faze or Phase?
Although they sound similar, to “faze” someone is to unsettle them, while a “phase” is a stage within a process or a set period of time. Both words could be used in a sentence like this:
The pet owners were unfazed by the cat’s anxious phase.
Remember that “faze” is spelled with a “z,” while “phase” is spelled with an “s.”
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