Garner's Usage Tip of the Day: signatory, n.; signatary; *signator.

signatory, n.; signatary; *signator. H.W. Fowler and George P. Krapp both recommended in the 1920s that “signatary” be adopted as the preferred noun (Modern English Usage 534 [1st ed. 1926]; A Comprehensive Guide to Good English 540 [1927]). Today, however, “signatary” is virtually never used. Most dictionaries record only “signatory,” and that form is 1,000 times as common in modern print sources — e.g.: “And since U.N. documents are designed to be inoffensive to their signatories, they contain language that offers an escape hatch.” Marilyn Greene, “Forums’ Value: Waste of Money or Time to Bond?” USA Today, 30 Aug. 1995, at A11. “Signatory” may be an adjective as well as a noun (Krapp considered it the only adjectival form) — e.g.: “They would also be allowed to visit commercial chemical companies in signatory nations.” Peter Grier, “No Quick Farewell to Chemical Arms,” Christian Science Monitor, 29 Aug. 1995, at 1. *”Signator,” modeled on Latinate agent nouns, is a needless variant of “signatory.” *Invariably inferior forms. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Competition for attention is great. Every technical man encounters far more written work than he ever has time to read. He gives his attention only to those who know how to earn it and hold it.” Reginald O. Kapp, The Presentation of Technical Information 6 (1948). – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
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