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A hard word to spell

desiccated

It means “to dry; to preserve by drying.”

I’m hiring a temporary replacement editor for a colleague who will be out several months on a medical leave. I got a lot of very qualified applicants. To whittle them down I produced a test of 85 objective questions. I tested the top 14 candidates, all with sterling credentials. Apparently the test was harder than I thought — the average score was 66 percent.

The first twenty questions were multiple choice spelling questions. Thirteen of the fourteen editors disagreed with Webster’s New Collegiate on how this word is spelled:

13.
___ desicate
___ desiccate
___ dessicate
___ dessiccate

Correct answer after the break . . .

. . .

13.
___ desicate
X__ desiccate
___ dessicate
___ dessiccate

The double c comes from the Latin word siccus, dry. I think it is related to words for sack or bag: Latin saccus, Greek sakkos, Hebrew saq.

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image from mbollino’s photostream

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1 Comment

  1. Alas! I would not qualify because I picked the first option. Not that I would apply; I’m not that foolish to think that I would qualify but it’s an interesting test.

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