Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional, cleverly named series on words I'm looking up)

stanch

"to stop or check the flow of (blood or tears, for example); to stop the flow of blood from (a wound)"American Heritage Dictionary

"see staunch"Webster's New World College Dictionary


Funny how being reared on style guides can mess you up for life. I long took the Associated Press Stylebook's words as gospel:

"stanch, staunch: Stanch is a verb: He stanched the flow of blood. Staunch is an adjective: She is a staunch supporter of equality." (AP)

But both Webster's New World and American Heritage allow "staunch" as a verb and a synonym of "stanch." In fairness, I should note that WNW also adds:

"USAGE—For the adj., staunch is now the prevailing form in the U.S.; for the v., usage is about evenly divided between staunch and stanch"

Still, AP should have used imperatives (Use "stanch" as a verb) instead of absolutes (Stanch IS a verb).

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2 comments:

Drew said...

Crazy. And funny that you'd state it that you can't speak for Latin. I say this because, despite a lot of Latin classes, I can't speak the language. It's one of the neat things for people like me who have problems speaking foreign languages with passable accents: You don't have to speak it. At least I didn't.

But I can speak for the language. It's cool.

June Casagrande said...

That's one of the things that's always irked me about Latin -- about the very idea of studying Latin.

I can't "hear" it.

Unlike Russian and French and Italian and Hungarian and Yoruba and Swedish and Tunisian Arabic and on and on -- there's no way to take a dip in it, to feel it, to sway to its music. I can buy a plane ticket to Quebec and swim around in their distinct-sounding French. But my only aural sense of Latin comes from HBO specials in which actors drive chariots and speak in BRITISH accents.

I find that idea profoundly frustrating. Then again, I just almost screamed out loud because we're planning a bathroom addition to our house and I couldn't remember the word "dormer." My worst 15 minutes in recent memory.

Issues? Perhaps.

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