glamorous / glamourous

dreamlike

Senior Member
Polish
Hi everyone,

which of the two is more common in your area? Clearly, glamourous is the British spelling, but I once read that "glamorous" is used equally often on both sides of the pond. Interestingly, "glamourous" is not even recognised by some of the dictionaries, and Google doesn't appear to recognise it, too. When searching for "glamourous", I'm being show results for "glamorous". Does it mean that the former spelling is somewhat outdated?
 
Last edited:
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'Glamorous' is the only correct spelling. The -our- form is by influence from the noun 'glamour', but has never been a standard alternative. As -ous is not a living English suffix, it is not added to English words; rather the word is formed within Latin ('humorous' is a better example because humor is a real Latin word, whereas glamor is not, but is treated as if it were). BrE books prefer 'vaporize' or 'vaporise' too, though you sometimes see the -our- creeping in from the noun.
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Well, this comes as a surprise to me.. it was the question of which of these is more common, I didn't expect "glamourous" to be dismissed as incorrect. Wikipedia entry for "glamourous" reads:
    Glamourous is a common British spelling.


    It's a pity they failed to mention it's incorrect. Or, perhaps, it's considered as such only by language purists?
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Yes, I've already seen the results produced by Google's ngram. What do you mean by "proper" books? Is there anything wrong with the books using "glamourous" in terms of language? Are they fraught with errors?
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    It just came to my attention that Cambridge dictionary lists "glamourous" as one of the possibilities.
    glamorous adjective (UK also glamourous)
    I'm perfectly aware that this spelling is very rare, with only 9 results in the British National Corpus, but I don't think it should be deemed incorrect.

    Anyway, it was my assignment during the exam to create a new word out of "GLAMOUR". It's glamorous/glamourous that suited the context given. The use of British spelling, "GLAMOUR", mislead me into thinking that I should use "GLAMOUROUS".

     
    Last edited:

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I have never encountered glamourous before except in unedited writing. Entangledbank is right about derivation of course, but my rule of thumb is that -ous, -ise and -ation result in dropping the <u>, therefore dolorous, vaporise and coloration, whereas -able and -ite do not, hence honourable and favourite.

    Glamour on its own is also interesting because this is the ordinary AmE spelling too unlike dolour, vapour, colour, honour and favour where AmE drops the <u>.
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I agree with your rule of thumb, natkretep, and so does appear everyone I asked about this - it sounds pretty reasonable. That said, I see no reason for dismissing it as incorrect as far as my exam goes, since dictionaries like Cambridge and OED (older versions) recognise it.

    It was a nationwide exam for studens leaving the High School, and there are a number of people whose answer was "glamourous" - and it's no wonder, having been given "glamour", not the American spelling - glamor (which I thought to be the ordinary AmE spelling, by the way)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm sorry, dreamlike - you can count me among those who call "glamourous" incorrect, too:cool:.

    As etb and Nat suggest, there's a standard pattern here:
    glamour - glamorous
    humour - humorous
    vigour - vigorous

    rigour - rigorous
    odour - odorous.
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    It does exist, though. There are very few examples, and there are few dictionaries which makes mention of it, but there are some after all - and if only for that reason I don't consider it invalid. But I'm not being objective - if examiners decide to dismiss this spelling, I won't get the maximum score :p
     

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If enough people spell a word unconventionally, or use a word with an unconventional meaning, then eventually dictionaries will be obliged to admit it. If you look at any book printed in the 19th century you will find numerous variations in orthography and semantics from the standards that are accepted today. "Correct", for spelling, semantics and grammar, can only mean roughly "in accordance with the current consensus of practice amongst educated users of the language".

    We have voted on "glamourous". :thumbsdown:
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    It was a nationwide exam for studens leaving the High School, and there are a number of people whose answer was "glamourous" - and it's no wonder, having been given "glamour", not the American spelling - glamor (which I thought to be the ordinary AmE spelling, by the way)
    As an aside, as far as exams go... If a student of mine was able, after a dictation, to show me in a dictionary the spelling of I word I thought he/she had got wrong, the penalty would be retracted :D - I mean, it is only fair. If, however, after consistently using, say, AE spelling, someone came to me, all of a sudden, to plead their case based on a BE spelling in a dictionary, they stood every chance of being laughed to scorn and kicked out. :) As a student I once received such treatment and, during the period I taught English, I also practised this in respect of my students.

    This said, I do not spell glamourous the way you probably did, but who am I to disagree with the Cambridge lexicographers? My point is that if you found that spelling in such a reputable dictionary, the law is, technically, on your side so you must rebel against their oppression if they elect to penalise you. :D
     

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    and it's no wonder, having been given "glamour", not the American spelling - glamor
    As has been pointed out above, the conventional AE spelling is the same as BE: glamour (my Shorter OED unenthusiastically offers glamor as an alternative, without specifying geographical preferences). The accepted spelling of the adjective, in both AE and BE, is glamorous.

    It's easy to make mistakes of this kind, particularly if you read texts alternately in AE and BE; for years I was under the impression that humorous was an AE spelling, and that we spelled it humourous in the UK. It was a shock and an embarrassment when I found out the truth, particularly since I have tendencies towards pompous pedantry in these matters.

    ps A check on Google ngrams indicates that the spelling glamor enjoyed a vogue of popularity, roughly from the start of the 20th century until WW2, after which it fell out of favour (or favor) relative to glamour.
     
    Last edited:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    To say that a dictionary includes a word or a particular spelling can be misleading. Dictionaries are not forever; there are frequent new editions. I have Merriam-Webster editions (and sizes, from the big International to the Collegiate), for example, ranging from 1864 to 1996. My Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (1996) does not list "glamourous", only glamorous. The same is true of my Concise Oxford English Dictionary (2002).
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Thanks for all your insights.
    As has been pointed out above, the conventional AE spelling is the same as BE: glamour
    Glamour appears to be an exception in this regard, "u" is usually left out in AE in words like this. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary points out that "glamor" is typical of North American English, just as a side note.

    If enough people spell a word unconventionally, or use a word with an unconventional meaning, then eventually dictionaries will be obliged to admit it.
    Which, to my mind, gives ample reason to consider "glamourous" correct or, at least, to not dismiss it as incorrect or invalid. I'm well-aware that the convention is to drop "u" in such words, if only for stylistic reasons, but it's not enough to think of "glamourous" as an egregrious error.

    There is a fine line between "incorrect" and "not my preference" - and that seems to be the case here. I, too, prefer "glamorous" to "glamourous" having considered the reasons you set forth - and just for the record, I realise that the latter is extremely rare, or even non-existent.
     

    DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Which, to my mind, gives ample reason to consider "glamourous" correct
    You may consider it correct if you can get enough people to agree with you; there is an element of mob rule or peer pressure in linguistic matters. Currently, I regret to say, you are in a minority of one as far as Wordereference goes. ;)
     

    dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Or, to put it differently, an element of following the herd ;) As I said, I take your points, but I don't really think it should be considered incorrect having been listed in some dictionaries. Anyway, thanks for all your answers again, I think there's nothing more to say.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top