Ask Me Help Desk

Ask Me Help Desk (
-   Writing (
-   -   Dilemma or dilemna (

  • Feb 5, 2007, 03:48 AM
    Dilemma or dilemna
    I see that says it's spelled Dilemma... but I have always used dilemna.

    Didn't the latter used to be the standard way to spell it?
  • Feb 5, 2007, 03:53 AM
    Never seen dilemna. You are a crazy one.
  • Feb 5, 2007, 03:57 AM
    Looking up the etymology: "First attested 1523, from Late Latin dilemma, from Ancient Greek δίλήμμα (dilémma), "double proposition", from δι (di) + (lémma), premise, proposition"

    A quick search for dilemna on Google shows at least one account where people have been taught to spell it dilemna, but I don't see a source for it.

    Also, looking on some pages that I like to read about common usage errors, they don't mention it, so it must be fairly rare.
  • Feb 5, 2007, 04:13 AM
    Yes, Google's got a half a million hits for use of it - and I at least felt a little better when I saw hit #1 was someone else saying they'd been taught to spell it that way. Odd indeed.
  • Feb 5, 2007, 04:23 AM
    I'm intrigued by this, I'm going to see if Mr. Straight Dope has anything to add to the discussion. I'll e-mail him tonight :)

    (Don't click the link unless you want to do nothing else for the remainder of the day)

    There's also 26 hits for dilemna on the board
  • Feb 5, 2007, 04:33 AM
    You read me right. I love that kind of stuff!

    I'm the type that's envious of the folks that make it onto Jeopardy :)
  • Feb 5, 2007, 05:43 AM
    Dilemna is like fustrated instead of frustrated... a recent American invention!
  • Feb 5, 2007, 05:50 AM
    Fustration I can understand, it's someone being lazy. It's just that dilemna needs more effort to say than dilemma.
  • Feb 5, 2007, 05:53 AM
    Then what about orientated (based on orientation), instead of oriented? That's a whole extra sylla... never mind, it occurred to me maybe it really is a word, and it is! Still it always sounds artificially augmented to me. LOL
  • Feb 5, 2007, 05:55 AM
    That's ignorance of the right word, and deriving the word from orientation.

    Dilemna is neither from laziness or improper derivation.
  • Feb 5, 2007, 06:04 AM
    Just a note. The "n" has never been vocalized in dilemna. Just a spelling thing.

    I narrowed my Google search and find quite a bit of conversation on the subject:
    spell OR spelling AND dilemna AND dilemma - Google Search
  • Feb 5, 2007, 06:30 AM
    Maybe for dilemma its just from needing stronger glasses? :rolleyes:

    And I don't sense that fustrated is laziness, like say in the child's pronunciation of "samwich".
    They really think its making a connection to the word fuss --- at least all the folks I've ever asked about that one.

    And I understand Rick's thinking that its like the word condemn. Same deal there.
  • Feb 5, 2007, 06:35 AM
    I used to call radiators "heaterater"s :D
  • Feb 5, 2007, 06:40 AM
    Heaterater... that's good. I'll tell you one you have that would be a tongue twister for me -- "car park" ha ha.

    For the longest time I couldn't pronounce linoleum either. LOL
    It came out something like linolaleeeum if I even got it out of my mouth so I learned to say vinyl!

    Too bad President Bush couldn't do likewise with nu-cu-lar. LOL
  • Feb 5, 2007, 06:55 AM

    Originally Posted by valinors_sorrow
    Maybe for dilemma its just from needing stronger glasses? :rolleyes:

    If my glasses were any thicker people would laugh at me :p
  • Dec 17, 2010, 08:33 PM
    Look! We are NOT crazy! Books that use the "mn" spelling!

    "dilemna" - Google Search

  • All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:06 AM.