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

Miscellaneous Entries. spill / spilled / spilled. So inflected. The archaic past form "spilt" still sometimes appears in metaphorical references to "spilt milk" ("Don't cry over spilt milk"), but "spilled milk" is somewhat more common. spiral, vb., makes "spiraled" and "spiraling" in American English, "spiralled" and "spiralling" in British English. spiritual; spiritualistic; spirituous; *spiritous; spirituel; spirituelle; spirited. "Spiritual" is the broadest of these terms, meaning "of the spirit as opposed to matter; of the soul esp. as acted on by God; concerned with sacred or religious things" (Concise Oxford Dictionary). "Spiritualistic" = of or relating to spiritualism, i.e., the belief that departed spirits communicate with and show themselves to the living, esp. through mediums. "Spirituous" = alcoholic. E.g.: "The purveyors of spirituous liquors have lately taken to advertising on TV after years of voluntarily absenting themselves." Tom Teepen, "Purge the Vices, Ignore a Crisis," Austin Am.-Statesman, 7 Apr. 1997, at A11. *"Spiritous" is an archaism in the sense of "highly refined or dematerialized," and is also a needless variant of "spirituous." "Spirituel" (masculine) or "spirituelle" (feminine) means "witty" or "of a highly refined character or nature, esp. in conjunction with liveliness or quickness of mind" (Oxford English Dictionary). Finally, "spirited" means "full of spirit; lively; energetic" {a spirited debate}. *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "To go on using in its former sense a word whose meaning has changed is counterproductive. The point is not that we should recognize semantic change, but that in order to be precise, in order to be understood, we must." Casey Miller & Kate Swift, The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing 8 (2d ed. 1988).
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