Commonly Confused Words
While both words can refer to ways to get rid of something — belly fat, Satan — that's where the similarities end. Exercise is physical activity but to exorcise is to cast out evil.
Exercise usually refers to working out:
Mrs. Obama has said she wants to help today's youngsters become adults at a healthy weight by eating better and getting more exercise.
Many studies have linked exercise with improved brain health later in life.
It also means to use something, like restraint, or you might even have warm-up exercises in music class.
On the other hand, if you went to see The Exorcist and expected a sports flick, you were in for a big surprise. You'll have to trade in your sneakers for some holy water if you are going to exorcise, orcast out the devil, like in these examples:
Any lingering Hampden Park ghosts were exorcised by within 34 ruthless minutes.
Mr. and Mrs. Metzler, who are devout Catholics, had Father Brown come to the house to exorcise the spirits that were tormenting them.
Although exorcise usually refers to a religious ritual to get rid of actual demons, people often use it to refer to emotions they'd like to purge:
In his view, acting has lent Ms. Schnabel "a vehicle to both exercise, and exorcise, these kinds of complicated demons."
In a way, she figured, she'd get two things done at once — advocate for kids and exorcise her own demons.
The "o" in exorcise is like the "o" in the oath when you vow to rid someone of evil. Don't get the two words mixed up, most demons don't respond to jazzercise.
Exercise is physical activity, like an exercise class, or the act of practicing anything — like people who exercise caution while crossing the street. Continue reading...
To exorcise is to cast out a devil or evil spirit, using prayer and other religious tools. You're probably familiar with the name of the person who does this: an exorcist. Don't try to exorcise a demon yourself. Call an exorcist. Continue reading...