ancestor = "descendant"

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Thu Dec 6 15:02:20 UTC 2007

On Dec 6, 2007, at 6:48 AM, Jon Lighter wrote:

> The horror just won't go away.  At Thanksgiving my 8-yearold
> granddaughter, referring to an environmental problem, said "we'll
> let our ancestors figure it out."
>  I said, "You mean  'descendants.' "
>  She said, "What's 'descendants'?"

from Brians's Common Errors:

When Albus Dumbledore said that Lord Voldemort was “the last remaining
ancestor of Salazar Slytherin,” more than one person noted that he had
made a serious verbal bumble; and in later printings of Harry Potter
and the Chamber of Secrets author J. K. Rowling corrected that to
“last remaining descendant.” People surprisingly often confuse these
two terms with each other. Your great-grandmother is your ancestor;
you are her descendant.

not in MWDEU or GMAU.  but very unlikely to go away.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list