Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon May 14 15:43:12 UTC 2007

On 5/14/07, sagehen <sagehen at westelcom.com> wrote:
> On the recent thread of traps for the unwary tongue, Tom Ashbrook (NPR "On
> Point"), this morning  uttered a classic: "dimunition" for  diminution.
> I've no doubt that he knows better;  it's just one of those words that need
> to be approached with care!

"Classic" is right -- Google Books Search has examples of "dimunition"
back to 1653 (_The voyages and adventures of Fernand Mendez Pinto_),
and EEBO takes it back to 1571 (_The contemplation of mankinde_,
Thomas Hill). The variant/error goes unmentioned by the OED, however.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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