Word Confusion: Cypress versus Cyprus

Posted December 12, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

As a member of the European Union, Cyprus probably has more rules than a grove of coniferous cypress trees has needles.

And it’s a lot easier for me [not to mention cheaper!] to decorate a cypress with tinsel, lights, and ornaments than it would be to decorate Cyprus!

Word Confusions…

…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.

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Cypress Cyprus
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

Image courtesy of Italian Notebook

What comes to my mind when speaking of cypress trees.

Image courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Satellite image of Cyprus in January 2003.

Part of Grammar:
Plural: cypresses
Proper Noun
Evergreen coniferous tree with small, rounded, woody cones and flattened shoots bearing small, scalelike leaves

It’s of the Cupressus, Chamaecyparis, and other genera; the family is Cupressaceae

  • A tree of this type, or branches from it, as a symbol of mourning
  • Used in names of similar coniferous trees of other families
An island country in southeastern Europe, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, about 50 miles (80 km) south of the Turkish coast
Italian cypress

Lawson cypress

bald cypress

The Italian countryside is divided with borders of cypress trees.

A Greek colony in ancient times, Cyprus was held by the Turks from 1571 until 1878, when it was placed under British administration.

Cypress trees may be found in graveyards in Cyprus.

History of the Word:
Middle English from the Old French cipres, which is from late Latin cypressus, from the Greek kuparissos. No one is able to agree on the origins of the island’s name.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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