Word Choice: Bazaar vs. Bizarre

Bazaar vs. Bizarre

Did 1990s New Zealand band OMC achieve their only hit with a song about a marketplace? And why would anyone reference OMC in a proofreading blog in 2019? Well, that second question will remain a mystery, but the first one comes down to the difference between “bazaar” and “bizarre.”

Check out our guide below to find out how to use these words correctly.

Bazaar (A Marketplace)

“Bazaar” is a noun meaning “marketplace.” For instance, we could say:

The lead singer of OMC walked through the bazaar, enjoying the aromas.

The word came to English via Turkish and Italian, but it has roots in Persian. As such, it is most commonly used when referring to a marketplace in the Middle East, North Africa, or South Asia.

How bazaar? Very bazaar.
How bazaar? Very bazaar.

A secondary use, especially in English speaking countries, is to refer to an event where people sell things to raise money. For instance, a school or charity might hold a “Christmas bazaar” to raise funds in winter.

Bizarre (Strange or Unusual)

The word “bizarre” is an adjective meaning “very strange.” For example:

Referencing the band OMC in 2019 is a bizarre choice to make.

Here, for instance, “bizarre” modifies the noun “choice.” And by using the word “bizarre,” we’re saying the choice seems strange or unusual. In this case, it may be because nobody has listened to OMC in over twenty years, making it an unhelpful pop culture reference for anyone under thirty.

Summary: Bazaar or Bizarre?

These words might sound similar, but they have very different uses:

  • A bazaar is a “marketplace,” especially in the Middle East, North Africa, or South Asia. It can also be an event where people sell things to raise money.
  • The word bizarre is an adjective meaning “very strange or unusual.”

The fact these terms play different grammatical roles makes it easier to tell them apart. For instance, since “bazaar” is always a noun, it will always refer to a thing (i.e., a marketplace). And since “bizarre” is always an adjective, it will always be used to modify a noun. But if you’d like some extra help with your writing, why not submit a document for proofreading?

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