Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: hara-kiri.

hara-kiri. “Hara-kiri” (Jap. “belly-cutting”) is often misspelled in various ways, including “hari kari,” “hari-kari,” and “hiri kiri” — e.g.: o “‘Hiri kiri [read ‘Hara-kiri’] squeeze!’ I yelled. . . . To which an Asian gentleman seated to my right turned, nodded and said, ‘Very good, very good.'” Mike Downey, “Now It Seems Winning Is Also a Mania,” L.A. Times, 26 June 1995, at C1. o “I’m beginning to wonder when the instructor plans to pass out the hari-kari [read ‘hara-kiri’] swords and provide us with a more merciful end to offing ourselves.” Tom Murawski, “The Pen May Be Mightier, but the Sword Is So Much More Cool,” Chapel Hill Herald, 18 Sept. 2002, Editorial §, at 5. Fortunately, the proper spelling is more than twice as common in print as any of the erroneous forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– —- Quotation of the Day: “There are few wisdoms more ancient than this — that talk, in appropriate doses, and under proper conditions, is a good and powerful medicine. . . . The amount of speaking we do varies, of course, depending on circumstances, levels of fatigue, interest, and need, but there is a roughly definable average amount of speaking that we accept as normal. We tend to take special notice of people who ‘don’t talk enough’ or who ‘talk too much.'” Wendell Johnson, Verbal Man: The Enchantment of Words 18 (1956; repr. 1965).
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