Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: sumptuous; sumptuary

These words have almost opposite senses. “Sumptuous” = excessively luxurious; made or produced at great cost {a sumptuous feast}. “Sumptuary” = relating to or designed to regulate expenditures {sumptuary regulations}. “Sumptuous” is sometimes misspelled *”sumptious,” perhaps under the influence of “scrumptious” — e.g.: o “If you have a leftover fish, you can convert it into a sumptious [read ‘sumptuous’ or, depending on meaning, ‘scrumptious’] soup in a matter of minutes.” Adrian Cornell, “Cook Goes Fishing, Turns Up Good News,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 15 Feb. 1997, at 26. o “Last Wednesday the chief executive of Heron International hosted a sumptious [read ‘sumptuous’ or, depending on meaning, ‘scrumptious’] lunch at the Savoy.” Doug Morrison, “Ronson Reunited,” Daily Telegraph, 2 Mar. 1997, at 7. Language-Change Index — “sumptuous” misspelled *”sumptious”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms.
Quotation of the Day: “Too many of us are careless to the point of slovenliness and inaccuracy about the purely mechanical features of our manuscripts.” M. Lyle Spencer, Practical English Punctuation 2 (1914).
Scroll to Top