Collectible/collectable

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lucas-sp

Senior Member
English - Californian
Hey everyone -

I was vaguely surprised by a mustard in the store today that was packaged in what it described as a piece of "Collectable European Glassware" (basically a cheap wineglass). It made me realize that I honestly had never registered this word, this "collectable with an a." Checking it out in the OED, it looks like "collectible" and "collectable" are viewed as interchangeable in AE. I obviously prefer the one with an "i," and the idea of "collectable" as a noun is somehow spooky, to me. I can stomach collect+able as an adjective, but beyond that...

How do you all feel about the multiple spellings of "collectible/collectable"? I'd like to hear about regional differences or whatever rules (actual or imaginary) you've heard about. Are the two really completely interchangeable? Do other people have an irrational bias in favor of one or the other?

Thanks as always for any input you may have.
 
  • Grady412

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Interesting. I never knew before that collectable is a variant (in fact, as I type this, squiggly red lines appear below the word). A few dictionaries show the entry as collectible also collectable; the Oxford Dictionary shows the reverse.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I think it's one of those nouns we call an "interchangeable"!! The "FreeDictionary" calls collectable a variant of collectible and has them both as adj and noun, as do Random House and Collins.
    The WRDictionary/Concise OED on the other hand, puts collectable first :eek: and "(also collectible)" and accepts adj. and noun.
    For this one, I don't mind much either way, although I am more familiar with the i version.

    I always had trouble with dispensible/dispensable: in the UK a place that supplies drugs to the public for their prescriptions is called a "
    dispensing chemist" (US=pharmacy) and supposedly one of these had a sign in their window saying "We dispense with accuracy" :D So I remember the story and the spelling together.
     

    frenchifried

    Senior Member
    English - UK/US
    It seems collectable is here to stay and it is really jarring. Chambers gives it as interchangeable and so does Merriam Webster. Chambers even gives it as the first spelling. Perhaps it is a question of usage and what one's used to rather than correctness?
     

    Lyndon

    Banned
    N/A
    I'd like to hear about regional differences or whatever rules (actual or imaginary) you've heard about.

    Not really a rule, just something to (usually) point in the right direction --
    if you take away the suffix and are left with a normal English word, the suffix should be -able (afford-able, wash-able)
    if you take away the suffix and are left with a non-word (maybe a Latin root) the suffix should be -ible (vis-ible, leg-ible).

    As with many other aspects of English spelling, there are exceptions. ;)

    Some websites :
    http://www.englishclub.com/writing/spelling_ible.htm
    and
    http://www.amity.org.uk/Training/Spelling%20Rules/Spelling%20Rules.htm near the end.
    .
     
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