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elemace
Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2015 6:09:55 AM

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The Free Dictionary says that oenology - the wine study - is not correctly spelled and the correct spelling should be enology. I wonder which spelling rules apply here as the correct spelling is oenology, though enology is also a legitimized spelling, but appearing later in time and simplified.
thar
Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2015 6:41:23 AM

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The tfd usually cites several dictionaries, so I am very surprised it says this is incorrect.
To my British English, the word is oenology. Enology may be the American English version (and maybe other versions of English). So, it depends which language you chose to use.

The same thing has happened to the word foetus, which has been reset as 'fetus'. But that makes sense, as you want all medical literature to be maximally available across the world, without problems due to spelling.

Since it is a scientific word (an -ology) you can make a good bet the root has an ancient Greek origin. In English, you can generalise a bit that vulgar and common words are Germanic and Norse, more elegant ones are Latin and French, and scientific ones are Greek. Whistle

The ancient Greek for wine was oinos (transcribed). The modern Greek is οίνος.

This became oe and thus oenology.

Quote:
oe
found in Greek borrowings into Latin, representing Greek -oi-. Words with -oe- that came early into English from Old French or Medieval Latin usually already had been levelled to -e- (economic, penal, cemetery), but later borrowings directly from Latin or Greek tended to retain it at first (oestrus, diarrhoea, amoeba) as did proper names (Oedipus, Phoebe, Phoenix) and purely technical terms.

British English tends to be more conservative with it than American, which has done away with it in all but a few instances.

It also occurred in some native Latin words (foedus "treaty, league," foetere "to stink," hence occasionally in English foetid, foederal, which was the form in the original publications of the "Federalist" papers). In these it represents an ancient -oi- in Old Latin (for example Old Latin oino, Classical Latin unus), which apparently passed through an -oe- form before being leveled out but was preserved into Classical Latin in certain words, especially those belonging to the realms of law (such as foedus) and religion, which, along with the vocabulary of sailors, are the most conservative branches of any language in any time, through a need for precision, immediate comprehension, demonstration of learning, or superstition.

But in foetus it was an unetymological spelling in Latin that was picked up in English and formed the predominant spelling of fetus into the early 20c.


As a BE speaker, I know the word as oenology, and have never heard of enology (although I don't hear eonology a lot in normal conversation!)

Take your pick. But if you don't want to seem like a parvenu to the Europhile wine snobs, stick with the old way. Not talking Whistle

Cambridge online dictionary has nothing for -ology, but does have eonophile.
Oxford online dictionary has oenology.

I don't know which source in tfd says to make the change. Maybe a Websterism? Or possibly a hold-over from before standardisation to the BE form. Either way, it does sound like -en is the American preferred version. Can Americans comment?

source etymology online
oeno-
also oino-, word-forming element meaning "pertaining to wine," from comb. form of Greek oinos "wine" (see wine (n.)).
oenology (n.)
1827, from oeno- "wine" + -logy. Related: Oenological; oenologist.

IMcRout
Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2015 7:18:40 AM
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I suspect that 'Hangman' only accepts one spelling as correct and that is usually the prevailing AE one.

This happens all the time, elemace. Don't give up.
thar
Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2015 7:25:51 AM

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Ah, hangman, rather that the body of the dictionary. That would explain it. It is an American site, with American spellings as standard. Although before today I didn't realise that most -oe words were -e. Except Phoenix, of course.

Does that include omebae? Omebas? What about the acronym for diarrhoea? These spellings don't come up in crime TV shows. Brick wall
ellana
Posted: Saturday, May 23, 2015 10:14:39 AM
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My Longman dictionary shows both spellings, found under 'e' as well as under 'o'. Many scientific and other words have been modified in the US over time, spelling wise. If one glances at medical books, there are many examples. Ultimately, if both spellings are accepted, does it really matter which one is used? My view would be to be consistent either way.

Can we drink to that??
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