Word Confusion: Accolade versus Acolyte

Posted January 14, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Over the Christmas holidays, two different authors mentioned the accolades who accompanied their heroes…and I did not think they meant molding, arches, awards, or praise.

It’s all well and good to use “big” words, but please, writers, be sure you understand the meaning of the word if it’s not a word you have used before.

It’s one thing to award one’s acolytes with accolades, but no one will award your book with accolades if it’s full of confusion.

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. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

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Accolade Acolyte
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: accolade

A Renaissance Festival enactment of Queen Elizabeth knighting a boy

Image by sabreur76 / Vicenç Feliú (originally posted to Flickr as The Accolade) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A very young knight receiving his accolade from “Queen Elizabeth”.

Two priests flanked by two pair of acolytes

Image courtesy of Timothy Titus at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

An Anglican bishop and priest are flanked by four acolytes, two of whom are wearing vimpae.

Part of Grammar:
Plural: accolades
Plural: acolytes
An award or privilege granted as a special honor or as an acknowledgment of merit

  • An expression of praise or admiration

A light touch on the shoulder with the flat side of the sword or formerly by an embrace, done in the ceremony of conferring knighthood

  • The ceremony itself

Any award, honor, or laudatory notice

[Music] A brace joining several staves

[Architecture] An archivolt or hood molding having more or less the form of an ogee arch

[Architecture] A decoration having more or less the form of an ogee arch, cut into a lintel or flat arch

A person assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession

  • Any assistant, follower, or admirer

[Roman Catholic Church] A member of the highest-ranking of the four minor orders

  • The order itself
It was the ultimate official accolade of a visit by the president.

The play received accolades from the press.

He now becomes the thirteenth Frenchman to get the accolade, the first since 1985.

As of now, the Farmont is the only hotel that can boast this accolade.

The accolade can be seen as social recognition of the qualities and skills of manhood that the person already possesses.

Her? That’s Professor Eckhart “dining with her acolytes”.

Conners is a highly influential economist whose acolytes can be found at many major think tanks.

Adjective: accoladed
History of the Word:
Early 17th century from the French and from the Provençal acolada, literally meaning embrace around the neck (when bestowing knighthood); from the Latin ad- meaning at or to + collum meaning neck. Middle English from the Old French acolyt or the ecclesiastical Latin acolytus, which is from the Greek akolouthos meaning follower.

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