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Fine-Tuning 15, British English/American English

 
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Dec, 2004 04:29 am
McT -- I have here, right in front of me, an American dictionary ("Webster's New Riverside Dictionary") which strongly suggests, judging by the definitions, that the two words are more or less synonimous. However, I, too, have heard discussions of this on radio programs. It seems American linguists are as distressed by this trend as the British ones. Personally -- while I agree that language does change over time -- I, too, like the fine distinctions between words and try to be careful about my choice of precise words.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Dec, 2004 05:10 am
Well thanks Andrew, I feel the same about the meanings and use of words.

The only American dictionary I have access to is Merriam-Webster Online, and the definition of jealous there does not suggest envious as a synonym.

So, it appears "the street" may be a bit ahead of the lexicographers. Which is what one would expect of course, Me, I'll go on being an old pedant! Happy to be quite old-fashioned.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Dec, 2004 07:22 am
McTag wrote:
The only American dictionary I have access to is Merriam-Webster Online, and the definition of jealous there does not suggest envious as a synonym.



Quote:
Main Entry: jeal·ous
Pronunciation: jels
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English jelous, from Old French jalos, jalous, jelous, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin zelosus, from Late Latin zelus zeal + Latin -osus -ous -- more at ZEAL
1 a : intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness <shall worship no other god, for the Lord ... is a jealous God -- Exod 34:14 (Revised Standard Version)> <jealous of the slightest interference in household management -- Havelock Ellis> b : disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness (as in love) : apprehensive of the loss of another's devotion <so jealous she wouldn't let him dance with anyone else> c : hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage (as a possession or attainment) : ENVIOUS, RESENTFUL <jealous because her coat isn't as nice as yours>
2 : zealous in guarding (as a possession) : VIGILANT <his jealous love of privacy and independence -- J.W.Beach> : SOLICITOUS <students ... were like sons to him, he was jealous for their welfare -- Ellwood Hendrick>
3 : distrustfully watchful : apprehensive of harm or fraud : SUSPICIOUS <the jealous caution of New England -- Van Wyck Brooks>
synonym see ENVIOUS

source:
Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (2 Dec. 2004).

Quote:
Main Entry: en·vi·ous
Pronunciation: envs, -vis
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French envieus, envious, from Latin invidiosus, from invidia envy + -osis -ous -- more at ENVY
1 : characterized by, exhibiting, or reflecting envy : feeling or motivated by envy : maliciously covetous or resentful of the possessions or good fortune of another <tried to look disappointed and angry but ... only succeeded in looking envious -- Hervey Allen> <the sterile and envious principle of artificial equality -- Time> <examining the tire with envious appreciation -- M.M.Musselman>
2 archaic a : EMULOUS b : ENVIABLE <theirs was an envious gift, but lightly held -- Thomas Cole>
synonyms JEALOUS: envious is likely to suggest a grudging of another's possessions and accomplishments, a spiteful desiring of their loss, or, most frequently, a malicious or cankerous coveting of them <his successes were so repeated that no wonder the envious and the vanquished spoke sometimes with bitterness regarding them -- W.M.Thackeray> JEALOUS may suggest distrustful, suspicious, angry, or malcontent intolerance of the notion of anyone else's coming to possess what is viewed as belonging to or befitting oneself <France, jealous as it was of his greatness and covetous of his Gascon possessions, he could hold at bay -- J.R.Green> <I know that religion, science, and art are all jealous of each other because each of them claims, in a sense, to cover the whole field, that is, to interpret all experience from its own point of view -- W.R.Inge> It may be used without derogation to indicate cherishing and vigilantly guarding or maintaining <proud of their calling, conscious of their duty, and jealous of their honor -- John Galsworthy>

source: "envious." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (2 Dec. 2004).
0 Replies
 
Clary
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Dec, 2004 07:37 am
Glad I got the difference! But of course, the meanings are merged now, in fact envious and envy are not often used in comparison to jealous and jealousy. The pertinent philosophical point is, I think, whether a meaning is being lost from the language - and whether this is impoverishing. Perhaps you could say that jealous in its original meaning is a valuable word/concept and it's a pity to lose it.

Disinterested is in the same camp - and I think a valuable meaning is being lost.

All the same, when writing dictionaries, one has to take account of the usage first. American Heritage Dictionary used to (maybe still does) quote a 'usage panel' - so would say 'unacceptable to 38% of usage panel' or some such. It's useful for foreigners to know this kind of thing.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Jul, 2017 03:17 am
Reviving this very old thread with an opinion from The Guardian:
Quote:
Should the Americanisation (or Americanization) of English worry us?

From the first settlers to the New World, English speakers have absorbed myriad influences – modern anxieties about ‘corruption’ say a lot about our times

Monday 24 July 2017 10.00 BST
“That’s what this nation has been built on, proud men. Proud ******* warriors!” shouts Combo in one of the most well-known scenes from This Is England. What Combo would have thought of the recent report that the language of his beloved nation was becoming increasingly Americanised we can only imagine. But very few things have engendered as much debate as the language we speak – from Jonathan Swift’s concerns in 1712 that English would fall from use like Latin, and Samuel Johnson’s attempt in the mid-18th century to “preserve the purity” of the English language, to fresh claims that the “state of innocence” in which British English once existed has been “corrupted” by Americanisms. Perhaps we need to ask two questions: 1) What do modern anxieties about the English language say about us? 2) What does it mean to be English today?

[...]

So, what does it mean to be English? I put the question out to Twitter and my favourite suggestion was a line from Pink Floyd, “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”. Perhaps, in 2017, this is England.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jul, 2017 05:00 am
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Jul, 2017 05:17 am
About six minutes into the vid Graham Norton discusses fannies with, an extremely slow on the uptake, Jackie Stallone.

0 Replies
 
camlok
 
  0  
Reply Mon 24 Jul, 2017 07:59 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
Samuel Johnson’s attempt in the mid-18th century to “preserve the purity” of the English language,


Johnson knew it was futile. Why is this lost on so many?
0 Replies
 
 

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