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Dairy vs. Diary

This article is about Dairy vs. Diary — enjoy your reading!

  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Dairy and diary are confusing because they are spelled with the same letters, but with the two vowels reversed. Using one of these words in place of the other is as easy as making a simple typo. Unfortunately, these words do not mean the same things and cannot be substituted for each other. Each word has a clear usage case, which I will describe below. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see them in context. Plus, I will show you a useful memory tool that you can use to help you choose diary or dairy for your next piece of writing.


The word dairy originated from Middle English deierie, from deie ‘dairymaid’ (in Old English dǣge ‘female servant’), of Germanic origin; related to Old Norse deigja, also to dough and to the second element of Old English hlǣfdige. The word diary originated from late 16th century: from Latin diarium, from dies ‘day’.

Dairy as noun:

Dairy refers to a building or room for the processing, storage, and distribution of milk and milk products.

Milk and milk products collectively are known as dairy.

I rely on soya as a substitute for dairy.

Dairy as adjective:

Dairy is also used as an adjective referring to foods containing or made from milk.

Local dairy foods are good for our health.

Diary as noun:

Diary is a book in which one keeps a daily record of events and experiences.

Dairy vs. Diary

She kept a diary during the war.


The fourth graders went to the nearby dairy for a field trip.

The FDA shut down the dairy because several of its buildings were not up to code.

Darlene has a diary allergy, which means she cannot go with us to the ice cream parlor.

Karmanau visited a dairy farm just outside that zone and obtained a milk sample. –The Washington Post

Karen is careful to hide her diary where her little brother would never be able to find it.

When Brian read his wife’s diary, he was dismayed by what he found in its pages.

In 2011, Alexander Masters was given 148 moldy diaries that had been found in a Cambridge dumpster. –The Wall Street Journal

Diary or dairy:

Dairy and diary are easily mixed up since they are spelled only one letter apart. Dairy is a food product made from milk. Diary is a book where notes are kept. Both of these words are nouns, but only dairy can be an adjective. To make it easy on yourself, remember that Dairy Queen is an establishment that sells ice cream and other food items. Ice cream is a dairy product because it is made from milk, so by remembering that Dairy Queen sells products made from milk, you should be able to remember when to use each of these words. Another way you can ensure that you use the correct term is to simply sound the word out. Diary and dairy have distinct pronunciations that will lead you to the correct spelling.

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