susurration vs. sussuration

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SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
A murmuring priest at the altar of a great cathedral can sometimes be heard, from the back of the nave, only as a sporadic sussuration of 's's.
(The Selfish Gene; Richard Dawkins)

susurration
6 [16th century (1500-1600)] erron. [erroneous(ly)] sussur-.
OED
Would you be so kind as to tell me whether sussuration is now considered to be an error?

Thanks.
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I can't, because I've never heard the word before. Well, I did read The Selfish Gene a number of years ago; I probably assumed that Dawkins was making it up. :eek:
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I would spell it with one "s" and two "r"s, and I have definitely heard it and read it before.
    :thumbsup:
    susurrus, n. last updated 1918
    susurration, n. last updated 1918
    susurrate, v. last updated 1986

    1972 New Yorker 30 Sept. 6/3 In the Palm Court, violin music susurrates from five to seven.

    (all OED)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Another example from Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA):

    There was movement now -- the susurration of fabric on fabric.

    Date: 2009
    Publication information New York : Minotaur Books,Edition: 1st ed.
    Title: Liars anonymous
    Author: Ure, Louise.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The Ngrams show that the "suss-" version is gaining ground
    I don't think you can say that. If you increase the smoothing to a large number you get a better idea of trend. I think the most you can say is that both spellings have been used in books with increasing frequency (I wonder why?) and that the correct spelling is still way ahead of the incorrect spelling.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I don't think you can say that. If you increase the smoothing to a large number you get a better idea of trend. I think the most you can say is that both spellings have been used in books with increasing frequency (I wonder why?) and that the correct spelling is still way ahead of the incorrect spelling.
    I had only meant gaining in overall use - but, looking at market share, the suss went from ~0 to ~ 10% from ~1900 to 2000. Overall both have increased but when will the incorrect be termed a variant?:eek:
     
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