- `de·i,mate /'dEs@,meIt/ verb [disputed]
- To decimate means,
strictly speaking, to reduce by one-tenth. If an occupying power
orders the civilian population of a village decimated, then every
tenth person will be shot. Likewise, a military unit that has been
decimated retains 90% of its personnel, and if it is decimated
twice, then 81% remains. This sense is inherent in the etymology of
the word, which is from Latin decimus meaning "tenth." In
recent times, however, decimate has
come to be used in the sense of largely or almost completely
destroyed. As this new sense seems founded on ignorance, critics
strongly disapprove of the new sense.
- ,de·di`ca·tion /,dEd@'keIS@n/ noun
- (MS & book)
- 1 : (MS) Page in a manuscript in which the author
dedicates the work to a person, persons, institution, or
abstraction. Although in the past dedications were often elaborate
and designed to flatter a patron, the modern style is to make the
dedication as brief and simple as possible.
- 2 : (book) This page in a finished book.
- desert / dessert noun [mistaken]
- Confusion of these words is almost always nothing
more than a spelling error. An arid place is a desert and a (usually) sweet course served at the
end or near the end of a meal is a dessert. Desert is
also the word for what one deserves, but this word seldom occurs
except in the cliché "just deserts" which is best avoided.
- discreet / discrete adjective [mistaken]
- Only the spellings of these words are commonly
confused. Discreet is the word for a
person who is tactful and able to keep a secret. Discrete means noncontinuous and is most often
wanted in mathematical contexts. (mnemonic) : In the word which means noncontinuous,
the e's are noncontinuous because they are separated by
- [disputed] [local]
- As used here: The
label [disputed], occurs mostly with
usage entries, and indicates some difference of opinion about the
correct usage exists or has existed. Often there is little merit to
one side of the dispute or the other. Sometimes careless writers
have obscured distinctions that were once clear. Very often
instructors and language mavens have tried to improve the language
by introducing rules which had no basis in the history of the
language and which have not entirely caught on except with the
students and disciples of the mavens who now consider themselves
very well educated and superior for having learned the ersatz
rules. The marking [disputed] is meant
merely to indicate controversy, not to take a position on the
merits of the cases. In some cases this label is used for dialect
differences when no controversy exists about which usage is correct
in which dialect, but indicates the claims that one dialect is
somehow purer or more correct than the other are dubious.
- `drop `fo·li,o /'drAp
- (printing) A page that
bears its number at the bottom rather than at the top of the page.
The First page of a chapter in a finished book may be a drop folio.
Manuscripts should never use drop folios. Compare: blind folio
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