Miscellaneous Entries. libido. Although dictionaries once recorded /li-BIY-doh/ as the preferred pronunciation, /li-BEE-doh/ is now the established preference in American English. licorice (/LiK-uh-rish/) is the standard spelling. “Liquorice” is a variant form. This word shouldn’t be confused with its uncommon homophones, “lickerish” (= lascivious, lecherous) and “liquorish” (= tasting like liquor). lie/lay/lain. So inflected (except when “lie” means “to utter a falsity” — see below). A murderer may “lie in wait.” Yesterday he “lay in wait.” And for several days he has “lain in wait” — e.g.: “The Ramseys say an intruder may have lay [read ‘lain’] in wait for hours before killing the 6-year-old beauty queen.” “Ramseys’ Mission: Find the Killer,” Austin Am.-Statesman, 18 Mar. 2000, at B8. In the sense of telling an untruth, the verb is inflected “lie”/”lied”/”lied.” lie low; lay low. The latter phrase is incorrect. lien, n. (= a legal right or interest that a creditor has in another’s property, lasting usu. until a debt that it secures is satisfied), is pronounced, most properly, /LEE-uhn/, or commonly but less properly /leen/ or /lin/. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “There is more to our language than just words, but the classic word-book — the dictionary — seems to many people to be the receptacle for the whole language, indeed to be the symbol of it. There seems to be something comforting about having on one’s bookshelf a handy directory to all the words of the language.” Randolph Quirk, “Thinking of Words,” in The Linguist and the English Language 128, 137 (1974).

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