Discussion in 'English Only' started by sdickens, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. sdickens New Member

    I've checked 5 different dictionaries and only one gave a definition for the word "duplicatable". All but one online dictionary even found the word in its database, and that was not one of the top dictionaries, ie: Miriam Webster didn't find it and it's not in my huge McGraw Hill Heritage Dictionary.

    My understanding is that this word is not truly a word; rather, it is duplicable. I've seen many people using duplicatable and it always sounds wrong.

    Can someone tell me if this word is acceptable? Is it a made up, commonly mistaken word or an Old World word that is no longer in use?


  2. Tabac Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest (USA)
    U. S. - English
    My guess is that it's a recently made up word, and it might well gain acceptablity at some time in the future. That's how languages change.
  3. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Dictionary.com (which is based on the 2006 edition of The Random House Dictionary) cites "duplicable - also duplicatable". The American Heritage Dictionary also says "also duplicatable".
  4. Yajaira

    Yajaira Senior Member

    Texas, USA
    U.S. English
    "Duplicatable" and "Duplicable" are also on Princeton's website. What context is it being used in? If you are talking about "photocopying", you can use "reproducible."
  5. gasman Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Of course the basic problem is defining a "word". Is a word a word if it is not in the dictionary you are searching; is it still a word if it has fallen out of use? Is it a word if it is not acceptable in the society you live in? Is baby talk made up of words? All that aside, I consider "duplicatable" to be a word. Whether I like it, or its usage, is another matter, as is its acceptance by one dictionary but not another. A word is surely a sound which expresses an idea-a picture in sound or letters.
  6. sdickens New Member

    Yes, I see it is noted as a 2nd choice in all your references. It is not in the Encyclopedia. My Heritage Dictionary is about 20 years old, so it's likely this word was added recently.

    Any other opinions on the usage of this word?


  7. sdickens New Member

    Oh, you beat my response. :)

    Well, I suppose what I'm really asking is, what reference dictates proper words and usage? Isn't there one "head dictionary" that is the ultimate go-to source to find out questions like this? Anyone can put together a dictionary and add whatever words appeal to them, real or otherwise.

    Online dictionaries do not provide the accuracy I seek. They don't specify word preferences. Printed dictionaries always indicate words 'no longer used' or 'slang' or whatever. I haven't seen this kind of detail in online dictionaries. However, the general rule is that the first spelling is most accepted.

    Regarding usage - the word is being used in the context that: "You want to run your business using a system that is duplicatable."

  8. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Sylvia

    Duplicable is in the OED; duplicatable isn't.

    I woudn't be surprised if duplicatable earned its place in the next few years.

    Or if it didn't;)

    For English, I'd say "none".

    I'd also say that dictionaries, almost by definition, are behind the power curve on language change.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  9. sdickens New Member

    Hi Loob,

    Sorry... OED? I know I'll feel real stupid when you tell me.

    I've heard there's some organization/group whatever that decides what words will go into the dictionary. Now, maybe it's a specific dictionary they belong to, I don't know. I mean, you can't just go around creating dictionaries with fake words, if you know what I mean. There has to be some guidelines that are specified by someone who knows languages inside-out, otherwise what kind of language would we have?


    PS: You're probably right - if it isn't accepted yet, it soon will be, like yuppie! ;-)
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Sylvia

    OED = the Oxford English Dictionary. The most prestigious UK English dictionary. But a descriptive/historical dictionary, absolutely not a prescriptive one.

    If you have a UK library card, you can probably access it for free via this web-page.

    You're right that, periodically, decisions are reached as to what new words should be incorporated into the dictionary. The decisions reflect usage out there in the "real world", not, prescriptively, what English should be like...
  11. sdickens New Member

    Thanks, Loob.

    See. I told you I'd feel dumb. I knew that, but just couldn't make the connection. (It's getting late!)

    I do have an Oxford English Dictionary (got it for high school 48 years ago). Since college, I've been using the Heritage Dictionary as recommended because it more accurately serves our media needs here in Canada. (hint... so no, I don't have a UK library card).

    Thanks for your help.

    Have a great night. :)

  12. pepperfire Senior Member

    Canada - English & French
    I've been speaking English for 42 years and although Duplicable is the correct word, verbally, duplicatable enjoys, by my ear, very much more common usage.

    I expect that the dictionaries which have not caught up yet, will eventually.
  13. Notafrog Member

    España (Catalunya)
    English UK
    I'm late to the party as usual. Sentences using words like duplic[at]able always sound to me like something translated from French or another romance language, because that's how they tend to phrase things.
    I'm willing to bet that in normal conversation, people say "can be duplicated" far more often than they say duplibbable, so that's how I rephrase the statement.

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