Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Octopuses, octopi, octopodes . . .

I ran into this video on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary website as I was looking for the appropriate word for a geographical equivalent of anachronism.

[While we're on the subject: An event or object that is out of its appropriate time context is called an anachronism. For example, if a novelist were to suggest that "George had just begun flying his Piper Cub from St. Louis, Missouri, to Berkeley, California, on the morning of April 23, 1823 . . ."--that would be an anachronism. So what is the appropriate word to describe an event or object placed in the wrong geographical context? For example, say, a flea on the tail of a polar bear that is living above the Arctic Circle.--What would you call that? Answer: an anatopism. --For what it's worth. (My first guess was, perhaps, an anageographism or an anageologism. Too bad: I guessed wrong!]

Anyway. I saw this 1:58 video over on the side of the Merriam-Webster web page and thought it was hilarious. Enjoy!

What is the appropriate plural of "octopus"?

By the way, there are a bunch more videos like this on the "Ask the Editor" video archives page on the Merriam-Webster website.
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