sleight » slight

Chiefly in:   slight of hand

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • “I mainly use magic tricks to reduce boredom and to relax students at the beginning of a class,” explained Krevsky, adding that several slight of hand tricks are great examples of medical maladies. (Temple University press release, Jan. 28, 1999)
  • “What I do is not slight-of-hand or magic. It’s math, but with a twist,” explains Lamb, who admits he’s always been something of a card shark. (Texas A&M University press release, Sep. 6, 2000)
  • For the past 18 years, Eric has traveled the States and abroad, charming both large audiences in stage shows and small groups at family parties with his “slight-of-hand” tricks. (OSU Moritz College of Law press release, Apr. 2003)

Analyzed or reported by:

The ratio of “sleight of hand” to “slight of hand” on Google’s Usenet archive is about 2.4:1 (38,500:15,800).

Slight was a common spelling variant of sleight through the 18th century, according to the OED.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/17 |

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