'Maize' vs 'Maze': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on July 31, 2023

If you need to know the difference between 'maize' vs. 'maze,' you came to the right place.

Here is the quick answer:

  • 'Maize' is a noun for a long cereal grain similar to corn.
  • 'Maze' is a noun for an elaborate, confusing configuration of corridors and passages. 

These terms are homonyms, so they sound the same but have different meanings, pronunciations, and spellings. So, read this entire post to learn how to define and utilize these terms.

What's the Difference Between 'Maize' vs. 'Maze'

'Maize' and 'maze' are homonyms, so they sound alike and have similar spellings. However, the definitions and usages of these terms are different.

  • 'Maize' is a grain, often called cereal grain, that is close in appearance to corn.
  • 'Maze,' or labyrinth, on the other hand, is a set of corridors and passageways intricately designed to amuse monarchs and stump their guests.

So, 'maize' is the name of a corn-like grain, and a 'maze' is a configuration of halls and passages designed to entertain the owner of a palace or gardens and their guests.

Definition of 'Maize': What Does 'Maize' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 'maize' is a noun defined as:

  • Zea Mays or a tall cereal grass, similar to corn that was first domesticated in Mexico and grown for its elongated pods of edible starchy seeds

It can also mean:

  • A lower-quality variation of corn that is used to manufacture different ethanol and edible ingredients, including animal feed and cereal

Synonyms of 'Maize'

  • Sludge
  • Rubbish
  • Trash
  • Slush
  • Goo
  • Drivel

Definition of 'Maze': What Does 'Maze' Mean?

The same dictionary defines 'maze' as a noun that means:

  • An intricate configuration of corridors and passageways built by monarchs during the middle ages in their gardens

It can also mean:

  • A problem that is challenging to solve
  • Something purposefully complicated, elaborate, and confusing
  • A course with a specific route you must take to reach the finish line
  • A state of bemusement, bewilderment, or confusion

It can also be a verb meaning:

  • To bewilder or perplex
  • To stupefy or daze
  • To confuse intentionally for a game

Synonyms of 'Maze'

  • Labyrinth
  • Quagmire
  • Tangle
  • Meander
  • Catacomb
  • Snarl
  • Snare
  • Trap
  • Confusion
  • Perplexity
  • Foggy
  • Distress
  • Turmoil
  • Bewilderment
  • Mystification
  • Fluster
  • Discomfiture
  • Puzzle
  • Baffle
  • Fuddle
  • Mystify
  • Muddle
  • Discombobulate
  • Disorient

Pronunciation: How to Say 'Maize' vs. 'Maze'

When learning the definitions of new words, learning how to pronounce them is a good idea. Knowing that your pronunciation is accurate helps you gain confidence to use the terms in verbal and written communications.

So, here is a pronunciation reference guide you can check to ensure you are saying these terms correctly. 

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'maize':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'maze':


As you see, despite these terms having different spellings, their pronunciation is the same.

How to Use 'Maize' vs. 'Maze'

You know the meanings, functions, and pronunciations of these words. Here are some tips to help you understand when and how to use them.

  • Use 'maize' to refer to a product grown for manufacturing other products, like corn syrup, cereal, animal feed, and ethanol.

For example, you might say:

The enormous size of the maize fields was stunning. It is hard to believe that we use so many corn products. 

  • Use 'maze' to refer to decorative configurations of corridors and passages people enter as a challenge or game to find their way to the end.

So, you could say:

Finding your way out of a maze with walls you can't see over is particularly challenging because you have no point of reference for the exit. 

  • Use 'maze' when discussing bewilderment, bafflement,  or confusion.

As an example, you could say:

After everything he went through last week, he was trapped in a maze in his head. He couldn't form a thought or opinion about the events because he was bewildered about how it all happened. 

Sample Sentences: 'Maize' vs. 'Maze'

Before you go, read these sentences using 'maize' vs. 'maze.' They will help you learn to use them and remember which is which.


  • Maize was first domesticated in Mexico, but now it is grown in many parts of the world.
  • Corn and maize are the same family. However, the maize variety is lower quality and cheaper than the corn in grocery stores.
  • The longer you wait to harvest maize, the tougher it gets.
  • Farmers grow maize to sell a variety of products that are not for human consumption.


  • Mazes have been used for centuries as a form of entertainment.
  • Thank you so much for helping me solve that maze of a problem.
  • We just moved into our new office building, which is a maze. I hope it is easier to navigate once we've moved everything into the building.
  • Once in a blue moon, I enjoy a good maze.
  • People were not very fascinated with medieval mazes for a while, but today, people have rediscovered this ancient form of entertainment.


  • My cousins and I visited the Amazing Maize Maze in Ronks, PA.
  • It was an entire maze made in a maize field.
  • If I am being honest, there was a brief period when I wondered if we would ever make it out of the maze because everywhere I looked, I saw maize.

Recap: The Difference Between 'Maize' vs. 'Maze'

Finally, let's review what you learned about the difference between 'maize' vs. 'maze':

  • 'Maise' is a noun that describes the lower-quality tall cereal wheat plants that are not immediately harvested for human consumption. 
  • 'Maze' is a noun for a structure or course with various corridors and passages that were popular amongst elites in the Middle Ages. 
  • 'Maze' is a verb that means confusing or bewildering someone. 

'Maze' is the more commonly used term because you can use it in more ways. But, if you ever get mixed up about these two, please return to this page for a quick review of this lesson.

If you have questions about other English words, please search for the term and read the corresponding confusing word guides before you go. And come back often to stay up-to-date on the latest changes in the neighborhood.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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