Revised as of 12 October 2017
Every time I see someone using wail to describe people beating on each other (or someone), I crack up. Yeahhh, not exactly the reaction I think the author was going for…but, I just…well…I…I find myself hoping they don’t drown…
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
If you found this post on this trio of heterographs, “Wail vs Wale vs Whale”, interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: wale|
|Part of Grammar:|
Verb, intransitive & transitive
|Adjective 1; Noun 1, 2, 3;
Verb, transitive 1, 2
A prolonged high-pitched cry of pain, grief, or anger
[Jazz] To perform exceptionally well
A streak, stripe, or ridge produced on the skin by the stroke of a rod or whip 2
A vertical row of stitches in knitting
The texture or weave of a fabric
Horizontal band on a basket
[Nautical] Any of certain strakes of thick outside planking on the sides of a wooden ship
[Engineering, Building Trades] A horizontal timber or other support for reinforcing various upright members, as sheet piling or concrete form boards, or for retaining earth at the edge of an excavation
A ridge on the outside of a horse collar
Something that is selected as the best 3
To mark with wales 2
To weave with wales
[Engineering, Building Trades] To reinforce or fasten with a wale or wales
To choose 3
[Slang] Describes a really good thing
Christopher let out a wail.
The wail of an air-raid siren.
It was the wail of an old tune.
“But why?” she wailed.
The baby was wailing.
The wind wailed and buffeted the timber structure.
She wailed at the funeral of her child.
They wailed the dead that they might not return.
That jazz band last night really wailed.
On an historical and religious note, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is sacred to Jews as a site for prayer and pilgrimage.
One yarn is required for every wale.
“Rib knits have pronounced lengthwise ribs formed by wales alternating on both sides of the fabric” (Britannica).
I don’t mind a wide wale corduroy for trousers, but I much prefer a pinwale for vests and such.
The gunwale was once the gun ridge on a sailing warship; these days, it’s the top edge of the side of a boat.
“Vertical staving was used to carry the wale around the stern.” – Howard I. Chapelle, The Migrations of an American Boat Type
“Cleats or scabs should be nailed in place over the joints between struts and wales” (National Safety Council).
A ganged form may be braced with wales.
When cleaning a horse collar, pay attention to the gunk that accumulates along the wale.
The crew waled in a support for the formwork.
We had a whale of a time.
Fortunes were made on the East Coast by whalers hunting whales for their oil.
The muggers whaled on their victim.
They were whaling away on each other.
They whaled us six–zip.
She hauled off and whaled him a shrewd blow.
|Adjective: unwailed, unwailing, wailful
|Noun: breast timber, inwale, outwale ranger, waling||Noun: whaler, whaling|
|History of the Word:|
|Middle English from Old Norse and related to woe.||1 From Old Norse val meaning choice and related to German Wahl.||4 Old English hwæl is of Germanic origin.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!
Pinterest Photo Credits:
Corduroy Fabric is ArielGlenn’s own work under the GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0, or CC BY 4.0 license and becomes a jacket for Little Boney in the Whale’s Belley by Roberts [etcher – attributed], which is in the public domain courtesy of the Bodleian Libraries. Both images are via Wikimedia Commons.