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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pet Peeve: Climatic vs. Climactic

I’ll make this short and sweet. There’s no such word as anticlimatic.

Okay, I guess there could be. But what would it mean? The word climatic refers to climate—as in, the weather of a particular region.

Seattle’s climatic conditions make it difficult to schedule a picnic.

Climactic—note the interior c—refers to climax, as in the highest point of dramatic tension or, well, any other sort. Never mind—we won’t go there.

The commercial interrupted the climactic scene of the movie.

And back to the word anticlimatic, which would mean—what? antiweather? I’m not sure I know of anyone who is anticlimatic, but the word anticlimactic (again, interior c) refers to something that should have been really exciting but turned out to be a big letdown.

After the high stakes of the blackjack tables, our midnight penny-ante game must have seemed anticlimactic.

1 comment:

  1. I needed this. My Midwestern twang messes my words up.