‘Taunt’ or ‘Taut’?

One of the occupational dangers of dictionary writing is being accused of linguistic laxity. Because dictionaries record language as it is used rather than protecting it from what is presumed false, dictionaries will assume that whenever two words are confused in print, the dictionary will rush to code the error. They exclaim, we must not make mistakes, but hold the ropes of correctness to mock!

Alas for the ropes, they are kept stretchAre not ridicule.

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Ha ha, your rope has a knot in it.

stretch to English in the 15th century from Middle English. Its earliest uses refer to something being stretched to the limit — a stretched mouth filled with food — and then bulging muscles (as opposed to flaccidity). The familiar “tightly drawn” feeling emerged in the 1500s:

When that Phoebus ran away from the Bow with such a bent string.— George Turberville, through the air, Eglogs of the poet B. Mantuan Carmelitan1567

ridiculeUnlike stretch, has not changed much in meaning since it first appeared in written English: it always implies teasing or mocking something. We cannot be sure who its lexical ancestor is, but our etymologists suggest that it is derived from a medieval French verb. the lease, which means “try” or “temptation.” The noun comes before the verb, but just enough: both appeared in English in the early 1500s.

Now go to the master’s parade / There’s a reason you mocked you / I’ve tried more than you can answer well. [Go to, now, master merchant / there is a reason that giveth you a taunt / I believe you can answer it well.]— John Rastell, Gentleman’s and nobylyte, shift. 1527 To turney or to tate with me year to fae to seke. [To tourney or to taunt with me, you have the right to seek]—John Skelton, Poems against Garnesch1529

It seems that these two words should not be confused: one is an adjective (stretch) and the other are nouns and verbs (ridicule). One explicitly refers to stressful things (the bowstring), and the other refers to making things stressful (family function). One person has one WOMEN in it, and the other is not. However, you can find evidence, even in carefully edited sources, of things being “prolonged provocation” or of guitarists plucking “strings of mockery”.

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ridicule often substituted for stretch: rarely an error the other way around. There are three possible reasons for the error:

  1. The pronunciations of stretch And ridicule very similar, especially in lilting speech;

  2. ridicule much more common in print than stretch, which means we are more likely to use the familiar word than the unfamiliar word if we are unsure; And

  3. We attribute similar meanings to both words — tense and tense — which muddy the lexical waters.

How can you remember which tense words to use? One mnemonic that you can use is to remember that both chop neither stretch only one WOMEN in it, so if you’re thinking of a “tightened” rope, or a “tight and tight” muscle, you’ll want stretch. If you are still unsure or afraid that you will memorize it wrong, you can always look up each word in the dictionary.

Categories: Usage Notes
Source: vothisaucamau.edu.vn

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