Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dear Dictionary, what is "Preventative"?

Terribly vexing can be the vagaries of American English. Yesterday I chanced on “preventative maintenance” on a website. “Preventative”? Could it be “preventive”? Then I stumbled on “orientated.” What is this obsession with “tating” about the Yankees? Or is it a case of the dyslexic taking over linguistic propriety?

Dictionary.com does give the same meaning for “Preventative” as “Preventive” while at the same time warning that the word is a variant of “Preventive.” My next stop Rhymezone.com and “Onelook.com” didn’t accept the word but gave me the idea for the following variants. I must warn it is not language purists, though.

How about abbreviateted, abductated, activatated?

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