As with so many other similar sounding English words, calvary vs. cavalry often get mixed up in people’s writing. While they aren’t a true set of homophones, they still sound similar enough to confuse people. Each word also contains the same seven letters, just in different orders, which adds to the confusion. That said, their meanings are wholly unrelated, and, in order to avoid any embarrassing mistakes in your writing, it’s important to use the correct word.
In this post, I want to discuss the differences between these two words. I will go over their definitions, their functions in a sentence, and their pronunciations. Plus, I will give you a tip to remember the difference between them at the end.
Cavalry as noun:
The cavalry charged up the hill.
A cavalry regiment resigned.
Calvary as noun:
In John’s Gospel, Mary is only mentioned twice, at Cana and at Calvary.
Calvary can be used figuratively to refer to an experience of intense suffering; an ordeal. This use clearly comes again from the crucifixion of Jesus but is not capitalized, as the proper noun would be.
Cavalry or Calvary:
As we said above, cavalry vs. Calvary are commonly confused with each other. The most common mistake is when people mean to use cavalry but they use Calvary instead.In the Biblical New Testament, Calvary is the hill where Jesus was crucified. In modern usage, the word’s other definitions are (1) an artistic representation of Christ’s crucifixion, and (2) an ordeal involving great suffering. Cavalry is completely different. It refers to (1) the part of an army that fights on horseback, and (2) a highly mobile modern army unit. Because the only thing separating these two nouns is the placement of the l, they are easily confused. You can remember this as a cavalry is a group of valiant solider. The cavalry is valiant, both of which have the letters “VAL” in them. If you’re writing about soldiers and you don’t see a “VAL,” then you’re using Calvary, which is a proper noun and the wrong word choice.