valedictorian » valevictorian

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Growing up in the Jim Crow south, Brother Julian was only eligible for education until the eigth grade. However, he graduated valevictorian with Phi Beta Kappa honors from DePauw University.” (link)
  • “I get straight A’s all year without trying. I’m the Valevictorian of a private school. I’m in highschool. I win.” (link)
  • “I know one teacher was the a valevictorian or however it’s spelled, and another gave up a lucritive banking career to teach.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Paul Brians (link)

Reported to me by Tommy Grano in e-mail, 9 August 2005, who also supplied the cites above (from the ca. 670 available from a Google web search) and the link to the supplementary page of Paul Brians’s “Common Errors in English” website.

The “vale” of “valedictorian” remains opaque, but the “dictorian” has now been improved by an allusion to victory. Or possibly Victorian times, though that would make less sense.

Only one webhit for “valevictory”, though — undoubtedly reflecting the fact that “valedictorian” is much more frequent than “valedictory”:

William S. Heywood delivered a speech in the evening at the town hall (”where our valevictory meeting was held”) on social reforms… (link)

Now (11 August 2005) add ca. 50 webhits for “valivictorian”, ca. 85 for “validvictorian”, and some undeterminable small number of hits for “valid victorian/Victorian” (there are over 500, but most are for other senses), which I thought to look for thanks to the comment by Matt S on this site. Introducing “valid” is an attempt to make sense of both parts of the word.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/08/10 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Catherine Rogers , 2006/08/15 at 12:53 am

    A friend of mine reports that her daughter called herself “valid Victorian” of her kindergarten class.

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