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

Miscellaneous Entries. willful; wilful. “Willful” is preferred in American English, “wilful” in British English. *”Willfull,” a misspelling, occasionally appears. willy-nilly, adv. & adj., = (1) by compulsion {he forced his brother to accompany him willy-nilly}; or (2) in a haphazard, unplanned way {so far, all our meetings have occurred willy-nilly}. The phrase is sometimes, as the Oxford English Dictionary remarks, erroneously used for “undecided, shilly-shally” {a willy-nilly disposition}. Wimbledon /WiM-buhl-duhn/ is often mispronounced /WiM-buhl-tuhn/. wind, vb.; wound, vb.; winded. In most senses that are pronounced /wInd/, the preferred past-tense and past-participle forms of “wind” are “wound” (/wownd/) {the road wound through the countryside} {she hadn’t wound the clock} {the luggage wound up in Boston}. In most senses pronounced /wind/ and related to breathing, airflow, and the sense of smell, the verb takes regular “-ed” endings {she became winded early in the race}. One uncommon sense defies this generalization, though: the preferred pronunciation of “wind” meaning “to blow a horn” is /wInd/, and the preferred inflections are both “wound.” wintry; *wintery. The former is the older and the preferred spelling for the adjective meaning “of or like winter.” It is about 20 times as common as the latter in print sources — e.g.: “The crowd of about 50 . . . mill about, sipping coffee and commenting on the wintry weather.” Gay Jervey, “Workaholics Anonymous,” Fortune, 3 Mar. 2003, at 150. wiry (= [1] of or like wire; [2] tall and thin; or [3] sounding like a vibrating wire) is so spelled. *”Wirey” is a common misspelling — e.g.: “The wirey [read wiry] Cuban will start the season as a reserve middle infielder.” Ryan Corazza, “Wild Thing,” Chicago Trib., 31 Mar. 2008, at 14. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “Most readers (including you) know when your concluding paragraph is merely a pro forma bundle of words; use the conclusion to show the reader there is a thinking mind behind those words.” Jeanne F. Campanelli & Jonathan L. Price, Write in Time 113 (1991).
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