Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: straitjacket.

straitjacket. The "strait" in this word means "close-fitting." *"Straightjacket" is a common but undesirable variant for "straitjacket" — e.g.: "Teachers of the subject assigned editorials by rhetorical types until it was realized that such straightjacketing [read ‘straitjacketing’] of students was destructive of talent, not a developer of it." Curtis D. MacDougall, Principles of Editorial Writing 81-82 (1973). As with many other compound nouns, this term has been spelled as two words, as a hyphenated compound, and as a single word. Today the single word is by far the most common form and should be accepted as standard — e.g.: o "A white-coated psychiatrist flips his notebook, as The Woman, in a straight-jacket [read ‘straitjacket’], hallucinates her way through a therapy session." Janelle Gelfand, "Enthralling Performances, Design Double Operas' Intensity," Cincinnati Enquirer, 1 July 2001, at E2. o "Skip the wrap shirt, an invention that feels more like a straight jacket [read ‘straitjacket’] than a garment of leisure." Jill Radsken, "Dive In to End-of-Season Sales Racks," Boston Herald, 12 July 2001, at 50. Language-Change Index — *”straightjacket” for “straitjacket”: Stage 3. *Invariably inferior forms. ——————– Quotation of the Day: "Now in order that the minds of author and reader shall meet, there are four conditions requisite: first, that the author shall know what he is trying to say; second, that he shall be able to say it in the simplest terms; third, that his language shall be adapted to the requirement of his readers; fourth, that his thought shall not be beyond their range of comprehension." Frederic T. Cooper, The Craftmanship of Writing 188 (1920).
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