relevance vs relevancy

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Kelly B

Senior Member
USA English
Both words appear in all of my dictionaries simply as synonyms. Yet I intensely dislike the use of relevancy - it sounds like hypercorrection, trying too hard to make the noun relevance sound more like the noun that it already is.

I cannot find any information to support this opinion. Perhaps I am utterly wrong in preferring one over the other. What do you think?
 
  • cutiepie1892

    Senior Member
    Northern Ireland English
    I hadn't even heard of the word relevancy before now - to me relevance sounds much better and is obviously more common, at least in BE
     

    sorepinky

    New Member
    U.S.A., English
    I, too, prefer "relevance". I would never use "relevancy" for fear of sounding ignorant...although I can't find anything to support our opinion either. (But to me, it's akin to saying "irregardless"--terrible!) Perhaps it's just one of those things where, though etymologically incorrect, it's been used so long that it has become widely accepted as correct. Thanks for bringing it up...let's just stick to our guns! :)
     

    Moon Palace

    Senior Member
    French
    It's the same for 'dependence' and 'dependency'. I have found in the online etymological dictionary that relevancy was registered two centuries before 'relevance'.
    But I couldn't find anything about 'dependence' and 'dependency'.
    COuld it be related to the origin of the words?
     

    bnies

    New Member
    german
    I think there is a clear difference between these two expressions:

    Relevancy is the measure of relevance.

    E.g. a search engine uses a relevancy number to push results and there is relevance in the fact that the engine does so!

    But maybe I am mistaken here.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It would seem as though the distinction is somewhat of an "old neologism", given the "refashioning" that the OED describes.

    From the OED on -ance and -ancy.

    -ancy : suffix. Mod. Eng. var. of -ance, expressing quality, state or condition, as opp. to action (Fr. -ance). Many words orig. in -nce have been refash. accordingly, as constancy, infancy , etc.

    -ency a suffix signifying properly quality or state. Where the same word exists in both the -ence and -ency froms, the former is usually restricted to action or process, the latter to quality; cf. coherence and coherency. See also - ancy.
     

    bnies

    New Member
    german
    Maybe it is a neologism. Given the fact that others stated the -ancy is the older form, I doubt it.
    I think the definition from OED that you cite is more or less the difference that I made in my earlier posting, as far as it applies to the word
    (relevance: general fact, relevancy: strength or quality of it. A strong relevance yields a high relevancy)
     

    Ftp

    New Member
    English
    Good answer Julian

    also competence and the seemingly recently used competency. Is one more of an absolute, and the other, as you say, a measure.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "Relevancy" is, in my experience, a word used by lawyers who want to show how many new words they learned in law school.
    Indeed. It is not easy to conceive how one might distiguish between a state and an action in the case of "relevant"! Relevance seems just fine to me too!
     
    Last edited:

    nazimou11

    Senior Member
    arabic, french
    Hello guys,

    Could you please tell me which one is correct in this sentence and what is the difference between the two? "The information on this web page is organized by relevance/relevancy." I would go with relevancy, but a quick search on Google leaded me to think that is wrong! since all the results are using the word "relevance". Thank you in advance for your answers.
     

    TellDemISaidDat

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    nazimou11

    Relevance means importance, while relevancy refers to degrees of pertinence of topics. So yes, in this case we use relevance.

    TellDemISaidDat
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    This has been discussed previously and extensively

    relevance vs relevancy


    Like the preponderance of responders to the existing thread, I suggest you forget "relevancy." It's not needed and sounds odd to many, if not most, of us native speakers.
     
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