Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sola topi.

sola topi. "Sola topi" (= a pith helmet, originating in India, made from the sola plant) is sometimes misspelled *"solar topi" — e.g.: o "But she kept the English cricketing cap and the solar [read 'sola'] topi." Joan Bridgman, "Mad Dogs, Englishwomen and Nureyev," Contemp. Rev., 1 Apr. 1995, at 213. o "The most unusual purchase at the Pukka Palace sale was of nine solar [read 'sola'] topis, which went for a bargain price of £20.76 each." Rachel Halliburton, "It Could Be a Record-Breaking January Sales Season," Independent, 5 Jan. 1996, at 5. Once in a while the error is compounded into a malapropism — e.g.: "Imperialism is back in vogue. With global stability threatened by failed states (or near states) like Afghanistan and Palestine, the literature on international affairs is suddenly rife with articles whose authors seem to be channeling Rudyard Kipling. . . . All the President needs is a solar toupee [read 'sola topi'] and a cut-glass English accent." Michael Elliott, "George W. Kipling," Time, 8 July 2002, at 35. It is pronounced /SOH-luh TOH-pee/. *"Sola topee" is an alternative spelling. Language-Change Index — *"solar topi" for "sola topi": Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "In your own art, bow your head over technique. Think of technique when you rise and when you go to bed. Forget purposes in the meanwhile; get to love technical processes; to glory in technical successes; get to see the world entirely through technical spectacles, to see it entirely in terms of what you can do. Then when you have anything to say, the language will be apt and copious." Robert Louis Stevenson, "Miscellaneous Observations," in Learning to Write 78, 78 (1920).
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