Word Confusion: Ca., Circa

Posted September 15, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Yeah, yeah, yeah, lol, you may be wondering about my choice of graphic. Why I thought this montage of 20th century musicians could exemplify the concept of circa. It’s all the fault of a book I read, Thaddeus Russell’s A Renegade History of the United States, which noted all the musical influences which led to rock ‘n roll as we know it today.

So, there’s no real, one, agreed-upon date when rock ‘n roll came into existence. It’s more of a…circa thing. Approximately, one huge around such-and-such a span of years that began with the music of slaves on the plantations and split into such streams as the blues, ragtime, and the native brass-bands which influenced the evolution of jazz with Jelly Roll Morton one of the early musicians and Louis Armstrong who taught musicians to improvise. It was the fun and energy of this music which evolved into the early rock and roll, a genre that continues to split and evolve today.

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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Ca., Circa
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com
Part of Grammar:
Abbreviation; Preposition
Always used before a date

Generally refers to a date



In approximately

c., ca., ca, or cca., cir., circ.

Commonly used in genealogy and historical writing when dates of events are not known precisely

  • Used especially in approximate dates
This event occurred ca. 1860s before the start of the Civil War.

It was built circa 1906.

Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1342.

Julius Caesar visited this area circa 50 B.C.

History of the Word:
Mid-19th century, originally from the Latin circa meaning around, round about, near, in the region of, about the time of.

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:

“Celebrity Musicians over the Years” is courtesy of Cool Old Stuff For Sale, which is selling this acrylic painting on its site.