Monday, January 22, 2007

Quick Pedant Alert

Josh writes:

It's come up a couple of times recently on local blogs, so just to make things clear:

"Erstwhile" means former -- your "erstwhile friend" is no longer your friend. I think people don't know what it means, but figure it sounds a bit like "worthwhile" so it probably means something to do with being worthy or respectable or something. Not so.

Bonus tip: If you do want an adjective that means "worthy of respect" with a touch of "formidable", go with "redoubtable" -- a personal favourite of mine.

2 comments:

Span said...

I used to confuse erstwhile with hapless, but was put right as they are waaaay different. Describing one's self as erstwhile (instead of hapless) gave people the impression I was emailing from beyond the grave...

Krimsonlake said...

Sometimes I see a word and develop an irrational dislike for it. The way it looks and/or sounds. I'm feeling that way about "redoubtable". Like there's just something not quite right about it.

Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you're totally fascinated by my weird opinions on words.