To most people that fuzzy ball on the top of a knit hat and the implement wielded by a cheerleader are both “pompoms,” but to traditionalists they are “pompons,” spelled the way the French—who gave us the word—spell it. A pompom, say these purists, is only a sort of large gun. Though you’re unlikely to bother many people by falling into the common confusion, you can show off your education by observing the distinction.

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