Miscellaneous Entries. sibylline (= prophetic; mysterious) is often misspelled *"sybilline" — e.g.: There were Joan's often sybilline [read ‘sibylline’] remarks — Of course, we always do Tibet from the north. Nicholas Haslam, Joan Lady Camrose: Family Fortunes, Guardian, 29 May 1997, at 17. The word is pronounced /SIB-uh-lIn/. sic, vb.; sick, vb. "Sic" means to direct a person or an animal to chase or attack someone or something. "Sick," once the dominant form, is a variant spelling today — e.g.: We have tried sicking [read ‘siccing’] the dog on him but it just winds up being overcome by the somnolent vapors that fill the room and falls asleep by his side. David Grimes, Waking Up Is So Hard to Do, Sarasota Herald-Trib., 7 Nov. 2002, at E1. sick, adj.; sickly, adj. & adv.; *sicklily, adv. While "sick" means ill, "sickly" (adj.) means habitually ill {a sickly young man} or associated with sickness {a sickly complexion}. Because "sickly" is an adverb as well as an adjective, the term *"sicklily" is a needless variant. sideswipe; *sidewipe. "Sideswipe" (= to strike a glancing blow), dating from the early automotive age (1926), is the term to use. *"Sidewipe," an artificial form, has no valid standing. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "I would prefer to allow a drunken surgeon to operate on my brain with a chainsaw than allow a computer to correct my grammar." John Humphrys, Lost for Words: The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language 37 (2004).
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