Peak, Peek, or Pique?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Peak," "Peek," and "Pique"?

"Peak," "peek," and "pique" are easy to confuse because they sound identical (i.e., they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are very different.
  • "Peak" is the highest point of something.
    • The peak of Mount Everest is 8,848 m.
  • "Peek" is a quick look.
    • I took a peek at the chicks.
  • "Pique" means to arouse interest or curiosity.
    • To pique interest in the house, I described it as haunted.
peak, peek, or pique interest

Peak, Peek, or Pique Interest?

If you've come to this page looking for the answer to this question, write "pique interest." (There is more about the term "pique interest" below.)

Peak

The noun "peak" is the maximum point, degree, or volume of something. (The word "peak" can also be used as a verb.) Example sentences with "peak":
  • I grew up climbing mountains in Montana. My wife and I were engaged on top of a mountain peak.
  • It's been a career filled with very low valleys and some wonderful high peaks. (Actor Pat Morita)
  • I hate to sound self-involved, but I feel like I haven't peaked yet. (Rapper Q Tip)
  • (This is an example of "peak" being used as a verb.)

Peek

The noun "peek" means a quick look or glance. (The word "peek" can also be used as a verb.) Example sentences with "peek":
  • It's fun to peek into other people's worlds and see how they go about doing things. (Singer Norah Jones)
  • I don't think it's a director's job to peek behind the curtain too much. (Film director Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • (This is an example of "peek" being used as a verb.)
  • We may train or peek for a certain race, but running is a lifetime sport. (Sports coach Alberto Salazar)
  • (This should be "peak.")

Pique

The noun "pique" means a feeling of irritation or displeasure. It can also be used as a verb meaning to irk or displease. "Pique" can also mean to arouse or provoke (especially with "interest"). Example sentences with "pique": Examples of "pique" meaning irritation or displeasure:
  • If someone starts agreeing with me, I don't like it. Out of pique, I become something else. (Comedian Alexei Sayle)
  • In a fit of pique, I said to my agent, "I'm going to write something you can sell."
  • It piqued me.
Example of "pique" meaning to arouse or provoke interest:
  • A great way to pique people's interest in nutrition is to involve them more in the cooking process.

Common Terms with Peak, Peek, and Pique

Here are some common terms with peak, peek, and pique:

Common terms with "peak":
  • Peak of fitness
  • Peak hours
  • Mountain peak
Common terms with "peek":
  • Peek a boo
  • Take a peek
  • Sneak a peek
Common terms with "pique":
  • Piqued my interest
  • Piqued your interest

Ways to Remember Peek, Peak, and Pique

Here are some ways to remember peek, peak, and pique:
  • Reach a peak by climbing.
  • Peer by peeking.
  • I have a question. You have piqued my interest.

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs.? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? cannot or can not? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words

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