interim » in-term

Variant(s):  in term

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • It seems that Kenneth McKay does not think that we have to do an in-term report. (Scottish Parliament, Local Government Committee, 28 February 2000)
  • Grants received last year - progress report due 2/1, Grants received two years ago - in term report due 3/1,Grants received three years ago - final report due 4/1 (link)
  • Even if you were to (by some stroke of genius) able to release an in term report before the next election, it could be shelved as un-official and so still money well spent. (C-ByteDirect)
  • Onsite, managed teams set up and run Web Server systems on an in term basis while staff are recruited, or for longer periods. (link)

I have frequently heard this in spoken use (as in “we have to submit an in-term report after 6 months and a final report at the end of the project”), but was never quite sure if this was just a mispronunciation. However, a Google search turned up 105 examples of “in-term report”, showing that at least some people believe this is the correct spelling. There were 4,460,000 hits for “interim report”. The eggcorn version does make intuitive sense - it sounds like a report that one writes within the term of a project, as opposed to a final report that you write when the project is finished. The actual derivation is of course from Latin, “ad interim” = “in the mean time”.

_[Edited and posted, CW, 2005/11/14.]_

| 1 comment | link | entered by alecmcclay, 2005/11/14 |

clique » click

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • The young girl who knows that she is the hottest thing in her click announces that they are leaving. She confidentially turns her back on them and walks away. (link)
  • Because of her intrigue for technology and enchantment of mythology, Cindy was noted in her click as The Teckie. (link)
  • Their group was very popular in school. Nancy was the youngest one Pam had ever accepted in her click. These were the cheerleaders and the glamour types. (link)

Clique’s etymology, according to

[recent a. F. clique, not in Cotgr., but quoted by Littré of 15th c. in sense ‘noise, clicking sound’, f. cliquer to click, clack, clap. Littré says that in the modern sense it is originally the same as claque band of claqueurs. (This word has no derivative in French; in English it has originated many.)]

One of the entries for “click” is:

Anglicized form of CLIQUE (sense 1)..

This is hard because I’m not certain what this falls into exactly. The meaning that “clique” had in Old French is not far off from the primary meaningof “click” (via OED, yet again):

A slight, sharp, hard, non-ringing sound of concussion, thinner than a clack, such as is made by the dropping of a latch, the cocking of a gun, etc. Also fig.

Is this an eggcorn that the OED has documented by stating “Anglicized form of CLIQUE (sense 1)”, or what? I first noticed it on, and the search for “in his|her|your|my
|their click” came up with a lot of false positives. It does have a web presence, though (as the “Spotted in the Wild” show), but considering the information from OED and, I’m curious what others think.

[David Romano’s draft posted by CW, 2005/10/14. In my view this is one of those eggcorns that lead back in a circle to the original etymology. I suppose this usage of _click_ is derived from the idea that these are the people one “clicks” with. Which appears to be the actual origin of _clique,_ but it is unclear if the writers were aware of that.]

| 4 comments | link | entered by David Romano, 2005/10/14 |

en » on, in

Chiefly in:   in/on route (to) , on mass , on masse

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • “4. pause made on route: a place where a bus or a train regularly pauses on its route” (link)
  • “I have titled my remarks, ‘In Route to the Presidency: Some Ideas of Mine.’” (link)
  • “So why, other than a liberal media’s pro-gay sensibilities, would the camera crews descend on masse in Laramie but not on Rogers, Arkansas, where Jesse Dirkhising suffocated to death while his assailant had a sandwich?” (National Review Online, March 23, 2001)
  • “It’s horrifying to think that is was only fifty years ago that people in Western countries were being treated so savagely, that even young children were being killed on mass just because of their religious beliefs.” (link)
  • “The world is, unfortunately, FILLED with dictators and/or terrorists who kill on mass and at will.” (, Sep 16, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • David Fenton (Usenet newsgroup soc.motss, 22 September 2005)
  • MWDEU (Article on "en route")
  • Paul Brians (Common Errors in English)

David Fenton asked Chris Waigl and me: “Is there a mixed usage of “en route”, “in route” and “on route” that is common, or am I hearing a connection between three independent phrases that doesn’t really exist?” It turns out that the “on” and “in” variants of the French “en” are very frequent indeed; raw Google web hits for “— route to” on 22 September 2005:

en route to: 5,930,000
on route to: 265,000
in route to: 192,000

A quick glance at a sampling of the “on” and “in” examples should convince anyone that these expressions are synonymous. The version with “in” translates the French literally. The version with “on” is an especially good translation of French “en”, since it occurs
with the English noun “route” in expressions like “on the/our route to Vancouver” (where French “en” is just unacceptable, in writing or speech). Note the nice juxtaposition of “on route” with “on its route” in the first cite above, from the MSN Encarta dictionary’s entry for the noun “stop”. In any case, both “on” and “in” represent attempts to Anglicize, and make sense of, the French expression, and both are phonologically very close to French “en”.

This reshaping seems to have gotten by under almost everybody’s radar (neither of the Anglicized variants is in the current OED, and even Garner doesn’t complain about them), though at least two of the standard sources mention it: Brians instructs us not to Anglicize “en” in “en route” as “in”, and MWDEU has an unusually stern entry labeling “on route” as an “embarrassing error” and cautioning: “Authors and proofreaders beware.” (Brians doesn’t mention the “on” variant, and MWDEU doesn’t mention the “in” variant.) Despite them, I think that these variants are fast edging into the mainstream.

[CW, 2005/09/27: Added “on mass(e)”, as suggested by Sandi in the comment section. The partially Anglicised form “on masse” might simply be a misspelling of the French preposition _en_, though.]

| 5 comments | link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/09/22 |

ad » and

Chiefly in:   reductio and absurdum , per aspera and astra , and libitum , and infinitum , and hominem , and hoc , and nauseam

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • My theory was dismissed right out there by ‘reductio and absurdum’. (link)
  • Proudhon had only to skim through a Ricardian treatise to understand just enough of it to be able to show that political economy was a reductio and absurdum of private property instead of a justification of it. (G B Shaw, Fabian Essays in Socialism, Humboldt, New York, 1891)
  • If you haven’t noticed before, the trumpet theme in Mahler’s Fifth is similar to Beethoven’s motto in his Fifth. Bernd Buechtner says, “In this sense Mahler’s Fifth is also a dialogue with Beethoven’s Fifth, and Mahler’s symphony is likewise organized ‘per aspera and astra’–through night into day.” ( forum, Feb 4, 2005)
  • All elephants have access to clean, fresh timothy and libitum, or free choice, throughout the day and are fed enough hay to last them through the night. (Columbus Zoo)
  • Flexible and-hoc analysis with unique drill down and drill across capability allows companies to dive down into individual metrics, transactions and discreet elements; (link)
  • In addition, unless you ask us not to, we may use the information to:
    update you about the organisation and its programmes and services, such as annual subscription material, or details of and hoc events, and to inform you about products, services and events by other organisations in which you may be interested. (Australian Ballet)
  • but then what was that thing? and what caused it? and what was the thing that caused the thing that caused the thing that caused the world? and so on and infinitum, leaving us with what might well seem like a bunch quaint or even pathetic and desperate attempts to make sense of a world that resists making sense. (link)
  • You may not like to hear the story of Yajnavalka here, but it fits in nicely according to the form of logical argument called “argumentum and hominem” - that means argumenting from basic propositions or premises supplied by the opponent - things like that. (link)
  • In their posts and and-hominem attacks in the comments sections on some liberal blogs they showed us just how philistine, viscious and mean-spirited some of these guys really are. (link)
  • The “Media” spends time and nauseam on murder cases and alike, burning up billions of kilowatts of electrical power in their transmitters without any sane reason. (link)
  • We heard arguments and nauseam about accessibility, variable fees, and the like; but nothing about upholding a principle, and maintaining trust with the people. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • commenter Simon (on this site, suggested "reductio and absurdum")

See also ad » at.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/09/12 |

chaise longue » chaise lounge

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • An old man in a chaise lounge lay dead in a grassy median as hungry babies wailed around him. (AP, September 1, 2005)
  • Try this: A little cartoon of a Ford Expedition in the left lane with a guy on top sprawled out in a chaise lounge, roasting a bratwurst over a fire, yakking on a BlackBerry, as traffic piles up behind him. Caption: DON’T BE A LANE CAMPER! (Seattle Times, September 1, 2005)
  • “It’s kind of sad,” Walter Crispell, 73, said while taking a break last week on a comfortable chaise lounge on the store’s second floor. “After I turned 70, everything went to hell.” (Poughkeepsie Journal, August 30, 2005)

This one needs a bit of investigating. The term “chaise lounge” is used, especially in the USA, to refer both to chaise longues and to what others might call a sun lounger.… Clearly, chaise longues have existed for centuries, and three things are unclear. First, when and where the misspelling originated. Second, whether the mispronunciation began earlier, later, or at the same time. Third, when and where the sun lounger began to be named “chaise lounge”.

[CW, 2005/09/02: several examples added.]

[AZ, 2005/09/02: this one is listed in many sources on usage and errors, including Brians and MWDEU (which has a pretty detailed entry on the expression).]

| 5 comments | link | entered by dadge, 2005/09/02 |