Monday, December 16, 2013

Courst (for Courts or Course)

I was contemplating whether or not typos ever arise from a confusion or conflation of the words courts and counties and then I couldn't get the absurdly cute word courties out of my head! What would "courties" even be, I thought, if "courties" there were? Would they be like baby court jesters, or fanatical trial watchers, or the kind of people who get dated a lot, or what? When I searched for this potential error in OhioLINK, I got a single record, for a book about an 18th-century Indian lawyer, with the subject heading: Maharashtra (India) -- Courts and courties [i.e., courtiers] -- Biography. I really wanted to court this one today, but with such scant evidence at hand, I felt as though I had no choice but to dismiss the case. Instead, we'll have to take a different course, with the somewhat more commonly seen typo Courst. We counted five of these linguistic miscreants in OhioLINK, and 54 in WorldCat.

(Fourteenth-century mourning courtiers from a tomb, carved by Jaune Cascalls, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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