Professional Style

Ringer vs. Wringer

April 2014
Spot the Error

Jim’s cancer scare really put his wife through an emotional ringer.

As a kid, I remember seeing a contraption in my grandmother’s basement. It had a crank that would turn two cylinders. You’d feed wet clothes between the rotating cylinders, and the device would squeeze out the water. (It also did a nice job flattening M&Ms.) The device was a wringer.

As you can image, going through an ordeal could make you feel like you’d been “put through a wringer”—totally wiped, drained, exhausted, wrung out. That’s what occurred in the “cancer” sentence above.

Ringer, on the other hand, can refer to:

  • A successful throw in horseshoes.
  • Someone brought into a contest under false pretenses to increase the chances of winning.
  • Someone identical to another.

As you can see, ringer has nothing to do with exhaustion … or flattening M&Ms.

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