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Aid vs. Aide: Which Word Is It?

Aide is a noun and means assistant. Aid can be a noun or a verb, and means 'to offer help', or refers to the help given.



Which is correct “aid” or “aide”?

While aid and aide sound the same spoken aloud, and are almost spelled the exact same (with the exception of the additional -e), they’re different words with different meanings. Allow us to assist in clarifying the distinction . . . or should I say, offer aid on the correct word choice.

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When to use “aid” vs. “aide”

Examples of “aide”Examples of “aid”
My aide assists with most of my work.Refugees are in need of significant aid.


Aide (pronounced aye-d) is a noun meaning assistant. Someone who acts as an assistant is an aide (and vice versa). For example, the term ‘teacher’s aide‘ shows the correct use of the noun aide. Similarly, there are nurses’ aides, political aides, and so forth.

The word aid can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, the word aid refers to “money, food, etc. that is sent to help countries in difficult situations”. In other words, the actual assistance that is given, or the items that provides assistance or relief are considered as aid.


As a verb, to aid means to “help somebody/something to do something, especially by making it easier”. Aid can also mean to help someone accomplish something; for example, as in the phrase ‘to aid and abet‘, which refers to helping someone achieve an illicit goal.



Examples using “aide” in sentences:

He served as an aide to the former president.

The nurse’s aide will bring you an extra pillow.

I wasn’t able to speak with the governor, but his aide was very helpful.



Examples using “aid” in sentences:

Financial foreign aid has been provided for victims of the earthquake.

Emergency aid arrived too late for many.

She walks with the aid of a stick.

Synonyms of “aide”

  • assistant
  • adjutant
  • aide-de-camp
  • helper
  • attendant
  • right-hand man/woman

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Synonyms of “aid”

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  • assistance
  • treatment
  • care
  • relief
  • service
  • benefit



Phrases with aid/aide

PhraseMeaning
To aid and abet To help someone, usually to accomplish something illicit or illegal.
To aid in doing/come to one’s aidTo offer support or help when someone needs.
A band-aid approach/band-aid solution A temporary solution to a problem.
To rip the band-aid off To deal with something uncomfortable quickly rather than prolong it.
Thirst-aid station A slang term to refer to a place where one can purchase alcohol.



Origin of the word aid/aide

Early 15c., aide, “war-time tax,” also “help, support, assistance,” from Old French aide, earlier aiudha “aid, help, assistance,” from Late Latin adiuta, “to give help to.”

Read about other confusing homophones

Commonly misused wordsUK English vs. US English
former vs. latterburned or burnt?
bear with vs. bare withcolor or colour?
breathe or breathfavorite vs. favourite
assure or ensure?smelled or smelt?
effect vs. affectgray or grey?
elude or alludefavor vs. favour
it’s or itsanalyze or analyse?

Sources

  1. Aide, Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, accessed on Oct 9, 2023.
  2. Aid, Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, accessed on Oct 9, 2023.
  3. Origin of aid, etymonline, accessed on Oct 9, 2023.
  4. “Aid.” TheFreeDictionary.com. 2023. Farlex, Inc. 4 Nov. 2023 https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/aid

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