Yeah, I was surprised at this pair of heterographs too. I struggled to find a reason why the author was using ate as a dialogue spelling for eight, but using this as a word was totally out of character for the character. And I spent so much time pondering it that I lost track of what was going on in the story. Not a good sign.
The primary definition for ate is a past tense of eat while eight is the number 8 in several forms. Mmmm, gets my mind racing, thinking back over my snacks for the day: I ate eight grapes, eight ounces of bean salad, and thought longingly of eight pieces of chocolate…sigh…
One spelling that isn’t defined is a dialect spelling — the original trigger that set me off looking for more information. The only word that lends itself this way seems to be hate, which becomes ‘ate — please note the apostrophe that indicates a missing letter!
…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.
|Credit to: Dictionary.com: ate and eight|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Past tense for eat
Noun: eats 1;
Suffix 2, 3, 4
Verb, intransitive & transitive
|Adjective 5; Cardinal number; Noun 6|
ATE [a(utomatic) t(est) e(quipment)]
Equipment that makes a series of tests automatically
To consume food
Take a meal
To make a way, as by gnawing or corrosion
Chew and swallow (food)
To consume by or as if by devouring gradually
To make a hole, passage, etc., as by gnawing or corrosion
To ravage or devastate
To use up, especially wastefully
To absorb or pay for
[Slang: Vulgar] To perform cunnilingus or fellatio on
Amounting to eight in number
A group or unit of eight people or things
A numeral, 8, VIII, etc, representing this number
[Music] The numeral 8 used as the lower figure in a time signature to indicate that the beat is measured in quavers
ATE is any apparatus that performs tests on a device using automation to quickly perform measurements and evaluate the test results (Wikipedia).
Zeus later sent to earth the Litai, his old and crippled daughters, who followed Ate and repaired the harm done by her (Encyclopædia Britannica).
Where’s the eats?
Certain nitrates are a specialized class of explosives.
With Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s reforms, the caliphate in Turkey was abolished.
Magistrate is sometimes another term for justice of the peace.
Advocate can be either a noun or a verb.
You’d better separate them dogs.
Don’t pontificate, and don’t agitate that crowd.
Did you calibrate the engine?
It’s starting to accelerate! Move!!
Hillary Clinton has created her own little protectorate.
Potentate is the title of a ruler while khanate and shogunate are the office or government of a ruler.
A consulate is where you go if you need help in a foreign country.
Acid ate through the linoleum.
Rust ate away at the pipe.
Disease and pain ate at the patient.
Fire ate the forest.
Unexpected expenses ate up their savings.
The builder ate the cost of the repairs.
He ate me out.
Eight boats started in the race but only three finished.
She bought eight yards of velvet for her skirt.
Her surgery lasted eight hours.
Eight of the ten were acquitted.
There were eight of the family who were unemployed.
Check to see if we should use viii or VIII.
The win placed Canada closer to the final eight.
Children as young as eight were being pimped out!
Be in time for dinner at eight.
No, really, I wear a size eight.
You won on a pair of eights!?
The sweep oar eight is always coxed.
It’s 8:01 p.m.
Eight quavers equal a semibreve (MusicArrangers.com).
Verb, intransitive: undereat, underate, undereaten, undereating
Verb, transitive: outeat, outate, outeaten, outeating.
|Adjective; Adverb; Noun: eighth|
|ate away at
ate someone up
ate something up
|History of the Word:|
|1 Greek: special use of átē, meaning reckless impulse, ruin, akin to aáein, meaning to mislead, harm.
4 Latin -ātus (genitive -ātūs), generalized from v. derivatives, as augurātus office of an augur (augurā(re) to foretell by augury + -tus suffix of v. action), construed as a derivative of augur.
|5 First known use: before 1000
5 & 6 Middle English eighte, Old English ahta and is related to the Dutch acht, Old Saxon, Old High German ahto (German acht), Old Norse ātta, Gothic ahtau, Latin octō, Greek oktṓ, Old Irish ocht, Welsh wyth, Breton eiz, Tocharian B okt, Lithuanian aštuonì, Albanian tetë, Armenian uth, Persian hasht
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!