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Hickey Vs. Bruise: When To Use Each One? What To Consider

Hickey Vs. Bruise: When To Use Each One? What To Consider

Imagine a situation where your loved one comes home with a dark red or purple discoloration on the skin. What do you call such a discoloration, a hickey, or a bruise? The truth is there is a difference between the two words, and you will know it if you understand hickey vs. bruise better.

Hickeys and bruises are both forms of subdural hematoma that develop when blood vessels break & leak blood beneath the skin. However, a bruise is a dark red or purple skin discoloration caused by an injury. In contrast, a hickey is a dark red or purple mark on the skin caused by intense suction.

Technically, the difference between a hickey and a bruise lies in how they are formed. One is caused by an injury, while the other occurs from an intense suction on a specific area. Read on to find out the meanings and how to use these words.

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Definitions Of Hickey And Bruise

The primary reason people cannot tell apart hickeys and bruises is that they look similar. They are both characterized by a dark red or purple discoloration on the skin. Also, they both occur when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds beneath the skin. However, you can also differentiate these words by their definitions. Here are the definitions for hickey and bruise:

Definition Of Hickey

A hickey is a bruise-like, dark purple, or red mark on the skin that occurs due to intense sucking on the skin (a love bite). For example, in a sentence, “Jane came home with a hickey on her back after spending the weekend with Sammy.”

A hickey also means a slight inflamed elevation on the skin, like a pimple or a symptom of acne. It can also result from an injury. For example, “The hickeys on my back are symptoms of acne.”

In printing, a hickey is a defect due to foreign matter on the printing surface that causes a ring where the link is missing. So, it appears as a spot of ink surrounded by a halo on the printing surface. In simpler words, a hickey is a blemish in printing that primarily occurs in a solid area that has not received ink.

Here is an example in a sentence, “You should check the printing surface before pressing the start button to avoid causing a hickey.”

Another definition for a hickey is “a device for making smooth, semicircular bends in a pipe or conduit.” The device helps adapt lighting fixtures for an outlet box or pipe mounting.” In a sentence, “We did not mount the fixture because the hickey broke.”

The informal definition for a hickey is “an object whose name is unknown.” For example, “The hickey on the table is new to all of us.”

Definition Of Bruise

A bruise is a purplish discoloration on the skin caused by leaked blood from a broken blood capillary underneath the skin. It can occur due to an injury like bumping on a blunt surface or a blow. Here is an example in a sentence, “The bruise is more painful than it looks.”

Also, a bruise is a dark mark on a fruit, plant, or vegetable indicating damage. It can occur from a blow to the surface of a fruit. For example, “Maria did not eat the fruit because it had a bruise.”

As a transitive verb, bruise means “to strike someone with something blunt or heavy that their skin discolors without breaking.” In a sentence, “That blow will bruise Maria.”

Bruise also means “to be susceptible to bruising.” For example, in a sentence, “Bananas bruise easily, so you should transport them with care.”

Another definition of the term bruise is “breaking up food into small pieces by crushing, or pounding them during food preparation.” In a sentence, “Please use the wooden spoon to bruise the berries before adding them to the stew.”

The unofficial definition of bruise is “to crush or hurt someone’s feelings.” For example, “That comment will bruise her pride.”

How To Properly Use Hickey And Bruise In A Sentence

Since these words have multiple meanings, you can apply them in various contexts (depending on the meaning). Here are some things you should not forget when using them in sentences:

How To Use The Word Hickey

Use this word in a sentence as a noun regardless of your intended meaning. You can also use this word informally when referring to an object whose name you cannot remember or do not know. For example, “Please fetch me the hickey on the table.” However, you should never apply this in formal writing.

How To Use The Word Bruise

You can use this word as a noun in the following contexts:

  • When referring to discoloration on the skin due to subdural bleeding from an injury.
  • When referring to a dark mark on the surface of a fruit or vegetable. The mark comes from a blow on its surface.

You can use this word as a verb in the following contexts:

  • Meaning to hurt someone’s feelings. For example, “The poster will bruise her ego.”
  • Meaning to damage a plant tissue by abrasion or pressure. In a sentence, “use your hands to bruise the strawberries.”
  • Meaning to crush or pound food into small pieces in food preparation. For example, “Let us bruise the bananas before adding them to the dough.”
  • Meaning to injure someone or inflict a bruise.

Hickey Vs. Bruise: Consider The Following When Using These Words

Besides the definition, here are some other things you should know about these words before using them:

Know the Context, Word Forms, and Pronunciation

You can use “hickey” in sentences only as a noun. In contrast, you can use “bruise” in sentences as a noun or verb, depending on the meaning and context.

Since they are both nouns, both words have plural forms. The plural for a bruise is “bruises,” while the plural for hickey is “hickeys.”

Bruise, as a verb, has several other word forms. They are: bruised (past tense), bruises (third-person singular indicative form), bruising (the present participle), and bruised (past participle). In contrast, since hickey is only a noun, it does not have a past, present, indicative, or present participle form.

Finally, the pronunciation of “hickey” is “/hik-ee/,” and it has two syllables. In contrast, the pronunciation of “bruise” is “/brooz/,” and it has one syllable.

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List Of Examples Of Hickey And Bruise Use In Sentences

Let’s now look at some examples of sentences featuring these words. Check the ten examples below before creating more:

Example sentences of hickey

  1. We lost the hickey before we finished mounting the lighting fixture.
  2. Amanda came home with a massive hickey on her neck after her date.
  3. My mum caught me in a lie when she saw the hickey on my neck.
  4. Please fetch me the hickey I left on the porch.
  5. If I take off my turtleneck, everyone will see the hickey.

Example sentences of bruise

  1. I got this bruise from bumping my thigh on the cupboard.
  2. Maria needs to visit the doctor because her bruise has not healed for two weeks.
  3. Please fetch me an ice pack to place on my bruise.
  4. I refuse to eat a banana with a bruise.
  5. The transporters failed to employ measures to prevent the bruises on the potatoes.


Besides their applications in the medical sector, the terms “bruise” and “hickey” have more to them. The content in this post has already shown you what this means. So, you can now add these words to your vocabulary without fear of misusing them. Feel free to suggest other words you would like us to tackle.