Dairy - diary

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These two are often confused - by careless native speakers as much as, if not more than, foreign speakers. The spellchecker will not notice; so it is up to you to confirm positively which one you want.

  • Dairy (with the a- before the i-) is pronounced to rhyme with 'hairy' and '˜airy', IPA: /ˈdeər ɪ/. It is a noun denoting a farm building in which cows are milked, and the milk is processed - made into butter, cheese, yoghurt etc. It is also used as an adjective to describe activities connected with cows' milk, e.g. dairy products (cheese, butter, etc); a dairy farm (a farm which is principally concerned with raising cattle for their milk and its products); and the dairy industry (the whole part of the economy that is concerned with dairy farms and dairy products).
  • A diary (with the 'i' before the ''a' ) is pronounced with three vowels , 'die-a-ri', IPA: /ˈdaɪ ər ɪ/. This is a noun denoting a small book with separate spaces for each day. Its owner, or keeper, will write in it. There are two main kinds: an appointments diary', which is used as a record of what is meant to happen; and a journal diary, which records, and reflects on, what has happened. Important and busy peop0le sometimes employ a diary secretary to keep their appointments diaries: "Lady Jane will be able to see you between 10:00 and 10:30 tomorrow; but she is expecting the Ambassador at 11:00."