Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: “wreak” for “reek.”

reek; wreak (2). Today: “wreak” for “reek.” “Wreak” for “reek” is a surprisingly common slip-up — e.g.: o “Watching Jagger, a grandfather, singing the songs of his youth is embarrassing — like watching an old tart plastered in powder, wreaking [read ‘reeking’] of cheap perfume, stumbling along the Champs-Elysees, leering at passersby.” Natasha Garnett, “Focus: The Rolling Stones,” Daily Telegraph, 7 Aug. 1994, at 14. o “Though such a statement wreaks [read ‘reeks’] of hyperbole, Alexakis truly seemed more comfortable with the intimate give-and-take at this sold-out Middle East date on his solo tour.” Tristram Lozaw, “Music: Alexakis Finds Comfort Zone,” Boston Herald, 10 Apr. 1997, at 53. o “Nate Newton has leaked a little information in response to reports that the Cowboys’ dorm rooms at St. Edward’s University wreaked [read ‘reeked’] of urine and were otherwise in a mess upon the team’s checkout from training camp last week.” Tim Price, “Newton Says Dorm Free of Any Pee,” San Antonio Express-News, 21 Aug. 1997, at C1. Language-Change Index — “wreak” misused for “reek”: Stage 1. *Invariably inferior forms. Next: “reek” misspelled “reak.”* ——————- Quotation of the Day: “In its various sizes and editions, the dictionary is an unlisted best-seller on every season’s list. To be able to get along without one would be a sign of supreme literacy — of complete competence as a reader and writer. The dictionary exists, of course, because there is no one in that condition.” Mortimer Adler, “How to Read a Dictionary,” in The Ways of Language 56, 58 (Raymond J. Pflug ed., 1967).
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