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

Miscellaneous Entries. timorous; temerarious. These similar-sounding words are antonyms. “Timorous” (/TiM-uh-ruhs/) = timid; fearful. Temerarious (tem-uh-RAIR-ee-uhs/) = foolhardily daring; rash and reckless. tine (= a prong on a fork, pitchfork, or antlers) is the standard spelling. *”Tyne” is a variant. tinge, vb., makes the present participle “tingeing.” tinker’s damn (= something valueless) is the standard spelling. The phrase’s origin is unknown, but it probably alludes to the tinkers’ reputation for profanity. *”Tinker’s dam” is a variant spelling, said to have originated from the tinker’s little dam of bread to keep solder from running through a hole in a pot being mended. tinnitus (= a ringing or other sound in the ears not caused by external stimulus) is so spelled, not *”tinnitis.” (The suffix “-itis” means “inflammation,” and this condition has nothing to do with inflammation.) But the erroneous spelling is hardly uncommon — e.g.: “A free presentation on brain stem pressure, which can cause tinnitis [read ‘tinnitus’] and dizziness, will be held at 5:30 p.m. today.” “Health Watch,” Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.), 29 Jan. 2001, at D2. The word is best pronounced /ti-NI-tuhs/, not /TiN-i-tuhs/. Language-Change Index — “tinnitus” misspelled *”tinnitis”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Successful argumentation . . . not only advances positive proof in support of its proposition, but meets all weighty objections that either are, or may possibly be, urged against it.” Edward Fulton, English Prose Composition 132 (1911).
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