uncharted » unchartered
Spotted in the wild:
- We will be looking for a candidate not only with vision, but one who will be able to lead Virginia Tech through the unchartered waters of rapid change in higher education. (Virginia Tech press release, Feb. 22, 1999)
- Glycoscience — Biology’s Newest Unchartered Frontier. (University of Georgia Research Magazine, Spring 2004)
- We will be preparing students to work as academics, but also to go out and explore unchartered territories of professional application. (Oregon State University Graduate Newsletter, Spring 2004)
- Women’s Hoops: Upset puts Amherst in unchartered waters. (The Amherst Student, Feb. 23, 2005)
Unchartered waters, appearing 6590 times in Google (note that some of these are articles about charter schools, so this may also be a pun or a typo), to uncharted waters appearing 65,000 times. (The ratio is about the same if you put them in quotes.)
I can’t think of a good explanation for this one. Like a chartered flight? Waters you go through by accident? Uncharted seems so sensible that I don’t get the other. But it’s not much less sensible than wedding vowels, I guess.
_Edited on 4-Mar-05 to add:_ In the comments section, Dan wonders if this is not just a “straight-up malapropism.” In other contributions to the database (antidotal evidence, conjunctive heart failure), I’ve noted cases that seem like malapropisms to me and have marked them “questionable.” I’d say that this one is eggcornish enough because a) _uncharted_ and _unchartered_ are nearly homophonous (or entirely so for non-rhotic speakers), and b) it’s possible to make a semantic rationalization for _unchartered_, despite wolfangel’s skepticism. _Unchartered_ is variously defined as ‘without regulation; lawless’ or ‘not officially authorized or permitted.’ Surely it’s not a great leap to think of perilous new waters/heights/frontiers/territories as lacking regulation or official authorization.
_Edited on 30-Jun-05 to add:_ Commenter rosanne notes a similar form, _well-chartered waters_.