Miscellaneous Entries. statutory rape (= sexual intercourse with a female below the age of consent, regardless of whether it occurs against her will) is an Americanism that originated in the 19th century. Originally, statutory-rape laws applied only to female victims, but today the great majority of American states have sex-neutral legislation dealing with this offense. "Statutory rape" is a popular term, not (ironically) a statutory one. steadfast, adj., is the standard spelling. *"Stedfast" is a variant. steamroll; *steamroller, v.t. Although *"steamroller" was once considered the standard verb, "steamroll" has now taken the field: it’s four times as common in print. E.g.: "From there, Levens steamrolled on three runs and a reception, scoring from the 3." Don Pierson, "Packers 27, Vikings 11," Chicago Trib., 2 Dec. 1997, Sports §, at 1. stereotypical; stereotypic. The longer form is preferred in figurative senses — e.g.: "Despite the wide variety of women who adhere to feminism, the stereotypical thinking that feminists are radicals lives on." Martha Ezzard, "South Can Use Fonda's Brand of Activism," News & Record (Greensboro), 30 Nov. 1997, at F2. "Stereotypic" is the better form for the narrow sense "of or produced by stereotypy (the process of printing from stereotype plates)." *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "Respecting the difference between words is not about being pedantic or pompous or even perfectionist. It just means we can express ourselves more clearly." John Humphrys, Lost for Words: The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language 80 (2004).
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