Discussion in 'English Only' started by KnightMove, Oct 6, 2006.
Are there other English words but "disc" ending in -sc?
That will get people thinking, Knight Move. I can't think of any at present.
In American English, we tend to migrate "-sc" to "-sk". Even "hard disc" shifted to "hard disk" and "compact disc" is often spelled "compact disk." In AE, particularly, "-sc" is a very rare ending. In fact, I would expect to see "mollusk", not "mollusc", on a sign in a sealife park.
We just seem to avoid that combination.
In BE, I believe we differentiate "disc" meaning a circular flat object and "disk" being a "computer disk" (not usually circular anyway). Another example of that is "programme" (usual) but it is written "program" in BE in terms of "computer program".
Knightmove - why do you ask the question?
Words ending in -sc are a heritage of Latin, and I'm interested in such words, and how they developped in other languages.
I agree that the 'sc' word ending is very rare in English. The words that do exist are obsolete, slang, or have newer spellings.
In addition to the ones mentioned so far, you can add:
fisc, francisc, lemnisc, mesc, obfusc, and onisc.
There is also a variety of pear known as "bosc."
That's true in AE as well. The plastic ones that we throw for our dogs to catch are called flying discs (or the trademark Frisbee.) The part of our anatomy beween two vertabrae is called a spinal disc. The flat, circular pads that go on a floor polisher are called polishing discs or buffing discs.
Incidentally, all computer disks (or discs, if you prefer) really are circular. The casing on a floppy disk is square and rigid, but the disk inside is circular--and floppy too. Since floppy disks are becoming obsolete, maybe the spelling will disappear too.
Chambers English Dictionary has
aesc ash, n the rune (F) for a, used in Old English for æ; the ligature æ used in Old English for the same sound (that of a in Modern English RP cat). [Old English aesc ashtree, the name of the rune)
fisc or fisk fisk (obsolete) n the state treasury; the public revenue; one's purse. (etymology as for fiscal)
Fiscal comes from Latin, but I doubt that the Romans had any input into aesc.
It doesn't look like it.
Disk drive vs. disc drive on Google is showing up at a 15:1 ratio
Hard disk vs. hard disc is 50:1
"Disk" is even used on medical information sites in phrases such as "slipped disk", "herniated disk", etc. It's not as frequent (per Google) as "disc", but still significant (roughly 2:1 for "disc" vs "disk").
Who knows...maybe hard disks and disc drives will be obsolete soon too? It's 11:1 in favor of "compact disc" over "compact disk." I think disk in the medical sites is a sign of the influence of computer disks on the spelling of other types of discs. If disc is still the more common spelling medically and otherwise, I think that as computer disks disappear, so might the K spelling in other contexts.
I believe "compact disc" is a trademarked phrase (Sony?), and so retains that spelling forever.
As for "sc" vs. "sk" in general, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I do know that when I started in computers, nearly three decades ago, "hard disc" was spelled consistently with an "sc".
Stumbled across this interesting entry in Google:
"Com'pact Disc' Trademark. a brand of compact disk. Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease"
i cant think of any words ending in "sc" sorry....but i'll have to check that, i have never thought about that ending before
Separate names with a comma.