Third Wednesday: Insecure vs. Unsecure

It’s easy to make simple mistakes in word use.  After all, in the English language so many words sound similar.  However, the specific meaning of a word can completely change what we’re trying to express.

“County officials discovered over two hundred insecure voting machines only days before the election.”

Reading the above sentence, I got the mental image of a room full of voting machines whining that the crowds of people made them anxious about keeping an accurate tally of votes.

Insecure – not safe from danger; filled with anxieties, not confident, apprehensive; unreliable, not dependable.

Marlis’s  demanding society-queen mother-in-law made her feel insecure no matter how appropriately the younger woman dressed.

Starting a new grade in a new school without the company of his buddies made Arnold feel insecure.

Unsecure – not made secure, not firmly in place; not guaranteed by collateral.

Only after he climbed atop the shelves and discovered they wobbled wildly did Roger realize they were unsecure.

Until you spin the dial on a closed Diebold safe, the contents you want to protect remain unsecure.


Here’s another look at Insecure and Unsecure.


The baseball game was an insecure meeting place for the police commissioner and the mob boss.

Any writer would be unsecure after reading the scathing review just published by the Piccolo Post.


It was evident that Marvin felt insecure about making the presentation to the company president.

Although he labored to prevent anyone without authority catching a glimpse of the classified documents, he left them unsecured on his desk when he fell asleep in the break room.

Being insecure about his capabilities placed Marvin in the unsecure position of pleading to keep his job after the debacle.


Need a memory trick to distinguish these words?  If it’s all about the feeling, it’s “in” the person’s psyche.