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

Miscellaneous Entries. sequential order is often a redundancy — e.g.: “These [Ernest Hemingway-Maxwell Perkins] letters contain long — emphasize long — discussions of money, of advances on work, royalties, serializations, advertising and the sequential order [read ‘sequence’ or ‘order’] in which stories should be published in collections.” John Balzar, “Fragments of Friendship,” L.A. Times, 19 Jan. 1997, Book Rev. §, at 9. sequester, v.t.; *sequestrate. Generally, *"sequestrate" means nothing that “sequester,” the more common term, does not also mean. Both terms are old: “sequester” dates from the 14th century, *"sequestrate" from the early 16th century. “Sequester” = (1) to set aside; separate {the judge sequestered the jury}; or (2) to temporarily remove (something) from the owner’s possession; esp., to seize (a debtor’s property) until creditors’ claims are paid {the judge sequestered the bankrupt estate’s remaining assets}. Apart from arcane legal uses, *"sequestrate" is a needless variant. serendipity (= luck in making happy accidental discoveries) forms the adjective serendipitous, a useful term of recent vintage (ca. 1943). sergeant; serjeant. In medieval times this word (ultimately deriving fr. L. servient “serving”) came to mean someone performing a specific function in the household or jurisdiction of a king, lord, or deliberative assembly and reporting directly to the top authority under which that person served. Of the more than 50 variant spellings of the term over the centuries, the preferred spelling in American English today is “sergeant.” In British English, there is some differentiation between spellings: “sergeant” is largely military (“sergeant-major”) and “serjeant” largely legal (“serjeant-at-arms”). *"Sargeant" is a common misspelling stemming from the pronunciation of “sergeant” /SAR-juhnt/ and perhaps also from the casualism “sarge.” *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “I believe that in all cases the good writing is not merely a decoration, an appropriate costume, but an integral property of the text, the expression of an inner principle.” Walter Nash, An Uncommon Tongue: The Uses and Resources of English 117 (1992).
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