Friday, February 6, 2009

Selvedge or Selvage?

For as long as I can remember I had no doubt that the word was spelled "selvedge", and ignored Blogger underlining it as a misspelled word. Then a few months ago I came across "selvage" to mean what I intended so I searched for all occurrences of "selvedge" in my blog and changed them. Still not happy, I went back and looked up "selvedge" and of course it is a legitimate word, synonymous to "selvage".

I prefer "selvedge" because it looks to me like "self + edge", but I couldn't find the etymology at a quick glance. Anyway, I just went back and changed all "selvage" back to "selvedge", and added the latter to my personal dictionary.

I spent over 13 hours on the computer; not all trivial activities. In fact, most of the day was spent building the basis for my guild group's website/blog and I've also finally started to collect contents for my own website, mostly from this blog.

But I haven't finished the cashmere scarf from yesterday; I only need to weave 16 picks of plain weave and cut it off. Besides, 13 hours is much too long to sit and stare at the screen, unless I have something truly urgent.

And today ends in 24 minutes!


  1. I have always seen it as selvedge. Maybe it is like colour and color.

    the computer can be a real time hog to say the least.

  2. I always get that word confused too! Online I see mostly selvedge, but I must have a book or two that use I'm always confused!

    Not to mention, I'm a fairly new weaver, so in any case my edges aren't always as smooth as I'd like!


  3. I agree I think selvedge is british and this upstart selvage is the bastard child.

    I'm a selvedge person myself.

  4. Hi Meg, so glad you're back! I have a different spelling issue, related to your earlier post about the getting dressed (or not) routine. Being pyjama-wearing, rather than pajama-wearing, is not a problem, but it is the abbreviation that bothers me. What we call them should I suppose be spelt pyjies, but that looks so ridiculous that I can seldom bring myself to write it down. But would pidgies be any better? Sounds like we dress in pigeon feathers or something.

  5. Merriam Webster gives the Main Entry as selvage, with the variant as selvedge. I like selvedge better too, just for the same reason you do. Part of the etymology is from self-edge, (through Middle English, Middle Flemish, Old English and Old High German, whew!)

    And I'm with Sue, mine could always look better....

  6. First off, ladies, we're not talking about the physical selvedge here. I just had a cringe selvedge last week, so we're going to be in denial, ok?

    But the word. I guessed it is the US/UK thing, but in that case the US form, I would have thought, might have been "selvege", which doesn't like so much like "salvage" as "selvage", but now I'm nitpicking. I think, though, I've seen plenty of "selvedge" in American book, from memory.

    Cally, the reason I always write "PJ" is because I get confused about that, too. I've seen both, and for this one, I don't have a preference, they both look natural to me, but I can't remember how to spell them.

    One of those things I hesitate to write about the spelling of the word "unravelling". All my life I had no doubt that some consonants must be repeated before "-ing" in both Englishes. Even while I was in the US. So I gave this no thought whatsoever when I picked my blog name. And then sometime later I remembered I used to always get caught at work (IBM) spellchecking "developping". Well, one can hardly admit one is unsure of the spelling of one's blog name, particularly if the name consists of just one word.

    I didn't pick the name lightly, I gave it some thought, but I never thought to look up the spelling.

    Anyhoo, I'm happy with it and have no intention of changing it. I just practice a lot of exaggerated eyebrow-raising whenever the word is underlined/highlighted. (Highlit?) You'd think by now I would have added it to my dictionary...

    Take a girl that learned mostly American English in school, by an Irish nun, then went to school in the US for 10 years, then has lived in NZ for over 14 years - no wonder I'm all over. I was never a good speller in the first place, but I have gotten more confused since I've moved to NZ and since pretty much everybody started using Microsoft software. And English here appears more free-flowing than it did in Minnesota; the ground shifts a lot here still, and it sways with the influx of different immigrant and tourist groups. I tried to get use to the Kiwi/Oz/UK English at first, but this side of 2000 or so, I just gave up and try to stick to the US spelling but use whatever vocab/phases I liked. Now we see "cookies" in New Zealand for heaven sakes!! I don't mind "biscuits" going because I have a hard time spelling it, but I sure hope we keep "bickies"!!

    Though I'm a very strong proponent of regional variations/dialects, particularly in speech, in writing sometimes I wished there was a world standard just to make learning easier for me, but as a erstwhile linguist, I know that's impossible.

    And anyway, 'its time to get out of my PJs.


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