Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: Miscellaneous Entries.

Miscellaneous Entries. volitional; *volitive. “Volitional” = of or belonging to volition (i.e., an act of willing or resolving); pertaining to the action of willing. E.g.: “Mary Ann Sandoval . . . testified that she believed Stuart’s memory loss and behavioral problems were self-serving and volitional.” Ginny McKibben, “Suspect Cleared for Slay Trial,” Denver Post, 29 Oct. 1994, at B3. *”Volitive” is a needless variant. voluptuous (= sexy; sensually gratifying) is sometimes misspelled *”voluptious” — e.g.: “It is a big wine, yet soft, voluptious [read ‘voluptuous’], and very fruity with fat, berrylike fruity flavors.” Robert M. Parker Jr., “The Harvest of 1983,” Wash. Post, 2 Nov. 1983, at E1. vortex. The plural is “vortexes” or “vortices.” Although there is much to be said for the first of these as a homegrown plural, “vortices” is more than twice as common in print. votable. So spelled — not “voteable.” votary; *votarist. The latter is a needless variant. vouch; *avouch. The first is the word in current use. *”Avouch” is obsolete, having been replaced by “vouch for” in the sense “to provide proof, to give a guarantee” {I’ll vouch for her honesty}. “Vouch” itself is now almost always intransitive in this way (followed by “for”). As a transitive verb meaning “to call upon, rely on, or cite as authority,” “vouch” is archaic. Vowel clusters are not indigenous to the English language, although one finds them in our imported vocabulary, in words such as “giaour” (= one outside the Muslim faith), “maieutic” (= Socratic), “moueing” (= making a pouting face), “onomatopoeia” (= the use of imitative or echoic words, such as “click,” “fizz,” “plop,” and “splash”), and “queuing” (American English) or “queueing” (British English). In forming neologisms, especially by agglutination, one should be wary of clumping vowels together in a way that would strike readers as un-English. Even three consecutive vowels may have this effect, as in *”antiaircraft,” which is better hyphenated: “anti-aircraft.” *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “All languages are composed of dead metaphors as the soil of corpses, but English is perhaps uniquely full of metaphors of this sort, which are not dead but sleeping, and, while making a direct statement, colour it with implied comparison.” William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity 45 (3d ed. 1961). ====================
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