Word Confusion: Century versus Sentry

Posted December 9, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 20 August 2017

Actually, this was my own confusion while I was listening to a television program while I was working on a project. I heard the word but interpreted it as century. Further dialog revealed my error. Not hundreds, but one man guarding a wagon train. Oops…

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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Century Sentry
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“The 20th Century is History” courtesy of Randy’s 21st Century.com

“Guard of Buckingham Palace” is MaryG90’s own work and under the CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL licenses, via Wikimedia Commons

Sentries at Buck House are renowned for their stoicism.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective; Noun
Plural for noun: centuries
Plural for noun: sentries
Always combined with another word to describe 100 of something

A period of one hundred years 1

  • A period of one hundred years reckoned from the traditional date of the birth of Jesus Christ

A group of one hundred things

A company in the ancient Roman army, originally of one hundred men 2

  • An ancient Roman political division for voting

A bicycle race of one hundred miles

A score of one hundred in a sporting event

A soldier stationed to keep guard or to control access to something
A twentieth-century lifestyle includes lots of technology.

The nation’s largest single-day century ride.

A century ago most people walked to work.

The second iteration of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London took two centuries to build (BBC).

Millions of people celebrated the beginning of the 21st century on January 1, 2000.

The pottery dates back to the sixth century B.C.E.

When the prince got married, it was called the wedding of the century.

In the fifteenth century, the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks.

He commands a century.

Eight fifties were hit in an ODI between Pakistan and Zimbabwe, in Karachi in 2008, with none of the batsmen managing to get a century (ESPN: Cricket Statistics).

Always post a sentry at the door of an armoury.

The captain has assigned him to sentry duty.

Adjective: centurial
Noun: centurion, half-century
Noun: sentry-go
History of the Word:
First Known Use: 1533

1 From the early 17th century.

2 Late Middle English from the Latin centuria, which is from centum meaning hundred.

In contemporary use, a century is popularly calculated as beginning in a year that ends with 00, whereas the traditional system designates the 00 year as the final year of a century.

First Known Use: 1608

Early 17th century, perhaps from the obsolete centrinel, a variant of sentinel.

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!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Anglo-Saxon Foot Soldier, 7th Century” is one of the many polymer clay figures created by Jack Siegfried, via Pinterest. “Prussian Cadet“, 1855, by Crousaz was uploaded by Unbekannter Graphiker der Epoche and “A Sentry Stands Force Protection Watch” is a U.S. Navy photo by Gary Nichols; both are in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.