Manakin - manikin - mannikin - mannequin

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Four homophones may lead careless writers into spelling mistakes. (All are pronounced 'MAN-y-kin', IPA: /ˈmæn ɪ kɪn/).

  • Manakins are a family (the Pipridae) of small birds found in tropical America containing over 60 species. This name is a Portuguese form, manaquim, of the Middle Dutch mannekijn.
  • Mannikins are an unrelated genus of birds (waxbills), restricted to the Old World, and belonging to the genus Lonchura, of the family Estrildidae.
  • A manikin is a representation of the human form, usually for demonstration or training purpose. Some artists call 'lay-figures' (life-sized figures in human shape used for teaching drawing) manikins; medical students have anatomical lessons through manikins, and ambulance crews may practise evacuation exercises with other manikins. Yet others, used in testing road vehicles for safety, are known as 'Crash test dummies'.
    • The Dutch form manneken is found notably in the statue of the Manneken Pis in Brussels, a fountain in the form of a small boy urinating, originally made 1619 by the sculptor Hieronimus (or Jerome) Duquesnoy (c.1570-1641/2).
    • The Scots diminutive mannykin is a familiar affectionate name for a male child.
  • The French form mannequin is restricted to the fashion industry. It was originally used for live models, such as appear on catwalks in fashion shows;l now, it is almost always used for plastic dummies demonstrating clothes in shop windows, etc.