playwright » playwrite

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • A man who played a part of my youth passed away last week. It was playwrite Arthur Miller. Maybe his most famous play was “Death of a Salesman”. But the one that’s most important to me was “The Crucible”. (link)
  • The haunting story of playwrite Oakley Hall’s life and work, full of rich insights into the loss that occurs when a creative voice is suddenly silenced by tragedy. (Brandenton Herald, Jan. 23, 2005)
  • It follows the story of Barton Fink, played by John Tuturro, who is a playwrite who has a hit show in NY in 1941, which attracts the attention of Hollywood moguls. (link)
  • Barrie is working as a playwrite, a talented one who has not been able to grasp that story that captures the imagination of his audience. (
  • Vision Theatre Players Guild presents the comedy “Trading Spaces” by local playwrite Anna Lussenburg Mar. 3, 4, 5 at the Cochrane RancheHouse. (Cochrane Times, January 26, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

Several major dictionaries define _playwright_ laconically as “a person who writes plays”, which doesn’t help to clarify the matter for those who consult them.

The Columbia Guide to Standard American English explains:

> A _playwright_, like a _shipwright_, makes or builds something (the word _wright_ comes from an Old English form of _worker_ and is related to _wrought_); to _write plays_ is to do _playwriting_, although the _playwrighting_ spelling also occurs. Edited English usually insists that a maker of plays is a _playwright_ and that the craft be called _playwriting_, not _playwrighting_.

| link | entered by Chris W. (admin), 2005/02/23 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Dan Hartung , 2005/02/25 at 3:42 am

    Of course, “copywrite”, as both noun and verb, is an even more common eggcorn (about 10x, per Google). I once pedantically pointed this out to a guy who was showing me the new program he had written (for the Apple II) with an animated demo scene beginning prominently displaying “copywritten by [that guy]”. It was the end of our cordial acquaintanceship.

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